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How to Start Off Your Roommate Relationship Right

By Kaitlin Hurtado

 

You can easily spend hours diving into the world of posts about roommate horror stories - most people do have some stories of things going south between roommates with varying levels of severity and drama. However, you do not necessarily want to be able to say the same for yourself and your own experience with roommates. No one should want to actively seek out their very own roommate horror story where their roommate stows away leftovers that go hidden in the back of your fridge until it is a pile of unrecognizable goo, or to be locked out repeatedly when their roommate decides to bring over their significant other without warning. Roommate horror stories are bound to happen with people living in such close proximity, but there are a few things you can do to lessen your chances of building your own roommate horror story.

 

One major thing you can do to improve your relationship with your roommate is to start off your roommate relationship right from the get-go. First impressions can go a long way when it comes to someone you are going to be sharing living spaces with, and if you are wondering how you can possibly go about starting off your roommate relationship right, read on:

 

 

Make an effort to get friendly

While movies may depict the ultimate dream of roommate relationships as having each other as life-long best friends even after you can no longer call yourself roommates, just being on friendly terms can be more than enough in reality. You don't have to be best friends with your roommates. Yes, it is nice to make new friends, but you may be leading two completely different lives with different classes, work schedules, and friend groups. At the end of the day, you just want to be comfortable with the person you are sharing a living space with.

 

At the beginning of your roommate relationship, be friendly. Take the initiative and introduce yourself with some small talk, just don't start unloading all your belongings without bothering to exchange names. When you see your roommates in passing - on your way to your room or in the kitchen as you grab something from the fridge, try saying hello or asking them how their day was. You'd be surprised that something as small as a smile or hello would do for your roommate relationship. You will come off as friendly and open, rather than standoffish if you were to walk past without acknowledging their presence.

 

Remember that being friendly is also respecting their personal boundaries. While you may want to become best friends with your roommate, they may just want to smile and say hello then head off to their room for some alone time in their own space. Respecting each other's presence in the living space is key when it comes to starting off your roommate relationship off right.

 

Negotiate a "roommate contract"

This can be as official or unofficial as you want it to be, but it is very important to sit down with your roommate as soon as possible to discuss your new living arrangement. While you have a list of pet peeves and practices that you commonly do in your living space, your roommate may have a completely different list that you are unaware of. Ask them to set aside some time so that you can both discuss what you expect out of each other during your time as roommates to help avoid conflict further down the road.

 

If you are wondering what possible topics you should cove, consider the following topics:

●       Guests. How many guests are you allowed to bring over, or when are you allowed to bring guests over? Is a heads up needed and if so, how much of a heads up do you need to give? Are overnight guests okay?

●       Uses of shared spaces. Shared spaces like a storage closet or your living room may have "obvious" functions, but you may want to use them for something else. Make sure that the use of shared space is okay with each roommate.

●       Using each other's belongings - is it okay? For some roommates, shared items like brooms or paper towels are completely okay to share, but things like butter or food items can be off limits. Establish what you are willing to share, and what you are not willing to share with each other.

●       Noise level

●       Cleaning schedule and duties

●       Pets

Establishing rules and guidelines early on in your living arrangement is vital to starting off your roommate relationship right. You don't want to do something consistently only to find out your roommate has been holding a secret grudge against you for doing that exact thing without knowing it bothers them.

 

Once your roommate relationship is off to a great start, don't let your efforts go to waste. Remember to maintain your roommate relationship!


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