College Roommate Tips
5 Skills You Learn Living With Roommates
Living with a roommate is definitely a different experience for everyone. Some opt to live with their best friends and end up having the best time, or end up seriously questioning their friendship choices. Others elect to live with complete strangers that end up becoming their closest friends, or just stay being someone to split the bills with. Whatever the case may be, living with roommates is a life experience that allows you to learn and grow plenty.
You would be surprised by how much life experience is to be gained just by living with roommates. Keep reading for skills you learn living with roommates.
Above all, living with roommates is a big opportunity to develop your communication skills. Sure, you will work closely with classmates and colleagues in school and at work, but there’s a level of communication needed to share a living space with another person. Being able to communicate effectively with your roommates is essential in making sure that your living situation is a good one. From cleaning schedules and house rules to daily talks, communication is at the forefront of your relationship with your roommates.
Establishing a relationship between roommates, regardless of how close you are prior to move-in, will allow everyone to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and opinions. For example, if you are the common link/mutual friend between two roommates that did not know each other beforehand. Keep the dynamics in the back of your mind as you communicate – you don’t want to look like you are siding with one friend and leaving the other behind. Make sure everyone has the chance to express their opinions and have a say when it comes to their living situation.
Things are bound to go awry at least once or twice between roommates, and that is okay and to be expected. What matters most is that in the event you are the one to mess up, you take accountability for the issue at hand.
Brushing things under the rug, or even passing the blame onto another roommate will only lead to more issues. Just think about how frustrating it would be to see something go wrong in the apartment, know you were not at fault, then see the blame being shifted around as no one takes accountability for the issue. Avoid being the cause of frustration or distrust by taking accountability if you mess up, whether it be forgetting to do a chore to disregarding a roommate policy regarding guests.
When things do go wrong with roommates, no matter how small of a conflict, you need to get the issue addressed and solved in a timely and effective manner. A small issue left unaddressed can leave negative feelings among roommates to fester until another issue comes along to have the feelings explode into a full-on blowout. If the issue had been resolved when it first popped up, the impact could have been greatly minimized.
Being able to resolve conflicts between roommates as they come up is essential in keeping things smooth between roommates. Don’t be passive-aggressive – tackle issues head-on as they come.
Living with roommates, unfortunately, often leads to a lack of space. Any common areas, from kitchen counters and cabinets to hallway storage, are often fair game between roommates. This can often lead to overstuffed fridges and cluttered counters in the bathroom without proper planning and organization.
Note that everyone has the right to common spaces, so if things are getting cluttered, it’s time to sit down and evaluate the space they have. For example, if a hallway cabinet is overflowing with clothes, leaving it difficult to be used for anything else, see how you can organize the cabinet better. Who do the clothes belong to? If everyone is contributing to the clutter, you can choose to have everyone store the clothes in their personal closet. If everyone lacks proper space in their personal closets, a compromise can be to utilize a clothing rack in your living room that everyone can use, freeing up the cabinet to be used as storage for other goods.
No one wants to live in a messy apartment, especially when the mess is not even theirs, to begin with. Even if you are leaving small messes behind in your wake, if everyone is leaving their own small mess behind, it’s going to create a large mess that someone is going to have to deal with.
Do your part as a roommate in cleaning up after yourself. Take the time to sort out a cleaning schedule/rotation with your roommate to keep cleaning fair and organized.
Living with roommates definitely comes with its challenges, but looking at it as a learning experience where you can pick up valuable skills and life experience can put a positive spin on it.
Planning Travel With Your Roommate
Going on a trip with your roommate can be a ton of fun, whether it is just a weekend getaway or a complete summer vacation. Before you set out, there are things you should know in advance and prepare for in the planning process. Knowing what to expect in advance can help you have the time of your life while being safe and ensuring you are not breaking any major rules.
Decide how you will travel
Depending on where you live and where you are planning you are deciding to go, there are options to get to where you want to be. It may only take you a few hours to get to where you are going by bus or train. Or you may opt to drive or fly. Keep these different options in mind as you are planning, and figure out which is best for you and your roommate. Be sure you are both comfortable with the decision. If you are leaving from your college town, be mindful of what options are available to you.
Book in advance
If you are traveling by plane, train, or bus, book your tickets in advance. This way, you can be sure that you are sitting together and that you are guaranteed the day and time you want. Otherwise, you run a risk of being delayed and having to pick a later day and time. Booking in advance also allows you to pay each other for whoever booked the tickets.
Be prepared for delays
No matter which travel method you decide on, there are likely going to be delays. Flights are notorious for this, but so are buses and trains. You may also hit a ton of traffic if you decide to drive. Be sure to account for any delays when deciding what to do on travel days of your trip, especially the days you are set to arrive in your location. Be patient if delays do occur, and be sure that your itinerary is flexible enough to accommodate them.
Pack snacks if possible
Some airlines, buses, or trains may not allow you to bring your own food on the transportation, but some may allow it. Be sure to check the rules so you know what to expect and can follow the rules and avoid issues. If you are allowed to have snacks, be sure they will not cause allergies. For example, try to avoid things that may have any kind of nut, especially if you are flying or taking a bus or train. If you are driving, the only allergies you have to worry about are you and your roommate.
If you are not driving, or you are alternating, you may want to bring something to do, like a movie to watch or a book to read. This way, you are not fully relying on your roommate to entertain you the whole time, especially if they are more prone to fall asleep on flights, trains, or buses. If you opt to listen to music or watch a movie or show, be sure to bring headphones if you are taking a plane, train, or bus so you do not disturb other passengers.
Stay within budget
It may be tempting to go all out and spend as much money as you want. However, this is not a healthy approach when you need money for things like tuition, books, and living expenses. As much as you would love to go somewhere for an entire week, you may only be able to afford a weekend getaway, especially during the semester. It is also crucial to keep in mind that just because you can afford a longer vacation, your roommate may not be able to. Sit down and talk about how long you can both afford to go away for and come to a compromise. If one of you can afford a bit more, you may decide to help extend the vacation by a day or two, depending on how much your budget is for each day.
Plan your itinerary in advance
Plan your itinerary in advance based on what you and your roommate like to do. Take turns deciding what activities you want to do so you both get to do something within your interests. You may even use this as an opportunity to push yourself to do things you would not have thought to do in the past. For example, you may be more of a museum fan than your roommate, so this will help them see more museums and cultural places. Your roommate may like scuba diving, ziplining, and other more adventurous things. These things may seem scary, but they will push you to try new things you would otherwise be too afraid to do.
Traveling with a roommate can be a fun experience. Planning in advance can help you prepare for anything the trip may throw your way and help you account for problems along the way.
How to Live With Outgoing Roommates as an Introvert
Living with roommates is not always easy, especially if you are an introvert among a set of outgoing roommates. Between having guests over and constant noise floating around, it can become easy to be overwhelmed in your own space.
If you’re an introvert in need of ways to live stress-free with your extroverted roommates, here are six tips to make your life easier!
1. Be Honest About Boundaries: The key to any great roommate relationship, especially between introverts and extroverts, is communication. As an introvert, it is important for you to establish clear boundaries with your extroverted roommates about what makes you uncomfortable as well as your general approach to things. Needing space, having quiet time, staying home rather than going out, having company over, etc., are all things that you can discuss with your roommates to help them understand your needs and foster an environment that makes everyone happy together. Though it might be awkward or uncomfortable to discuss these things at first, getting these boundaries out in the open and off your chest is far better than having a resentful relationship with your roommates.
2. Take Time to Recharge: For most introverts, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when you do activities that require a lot of social interaction, such as going to a party, having a group study session, or simply hanging out with your roommates at home. Regardless of the activity, it is important to take time to “recharge” and unwind. This could take forms in a number of different ways but can include listening to music, watching a movie or TV show, journaling, doing crafts or coloring, reading a book, or taking a nap. Giving yourself time to calm any feelings of anxiety, stress, or overstimulation can help you better cope with being more social with your roommates and help your relationship in general!
3. Find a Space to Decompress: Figuring out activities to de-stress and decompress is oftentimes far easier than settling on a space to do so. Sharing an apartment or dorm with your roommates can make it difficult to have privacy and get some time to yourself. An important part of managing living with extroverted roommates is finding your own safe space to be by yourself, which can be anywhere, from a coffee shop to a nearby park!
4. Go Out of Your Comfort Zone Occasionally: Though you may have lifestyle differences with your roommates, you can still enjoy quality time with them- after all, you live together! Reserving alone time for yourself is important, but it can also be good for you to take a leap and go out of your comfort zone on occasion. Arrange a weekly date with your roommates to catch up, cook a meal together, sit down and watch a show that is everyone’s favorite, or even take a trip to the grocery store! Anything that gives you some quality time with roommates is a great idea. Doing this can not only break up your solo routine, but it can also make your roommates feel closer to you.
5. Be Friendly with Your Roommates: Being an introvert is not an excuse to be rude, plain and simple. While being social may not be your preference or forte, it does not mean that you have an excuse to ignore or be disrespectful to your roommates. Though it is obvious, remember to be friendly with your roommates. It is no one’s fault that everyone has different personality traits and social interaction preferences, and that should not be reflected on your roommates. A simple smile and wave when you cross paths in your apartment can show your roommates that you respect them enough to engage with them, even on a small scale level. In addition, you can be friendly with your roommates by doing small acts of kindness, like making them coffee in the morning, preparing a meal while they’re gone, tidying up if they have been busy, or even writing a handwritten note of encouragement.
6. Invest in Noise Canceling Headphones: Living with outgoing roommates can often get noisy, and if you’re someone who is sensitive to loud sounds like talking, laughing, music, the TV, etc., you can easily become overwhelmed in your apartment. You can gently ask your roommates to lower the volume at nighttime or during hours you need to study/work, but it is definitely worth it to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. This way, you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of your favorite music or a Youtube video while your roommates can carry on without worrying if they’re being too loud.
You are bound to have differences with your outgoing roommates if you’re an extrovert, but these six tips will help you manage these differences while building a healthy relationship with your roommates!
How to Help Your Roommate Post-Breakup
By Aaron Swartz
For those who are in relationships, the Valentine’s Day season is a nice occasion to celebrate with your significant others. For those who aren’t in a relationship, Valentine’s Day might entail spending time with friends, eating chocolate, or enjoying being single. There’s a third category of people though, and this time of year can be particularly hard on them: those who were in a relationship until very recently but are now broken up. Breakups are a part of life — most people who spend time dating will have to experience one at some point — but that doesn’t make them any easier to get through. If your roommate is going through a breakup right now they’ll need your support. If you’re wondering just how you can support them, then read on to find our top six ways of supporting your roommate post-breakup.
1. Ask Them How to Help
Everyone has different needs, and there’s no way for you to know what someones are; unless you ask, that is. Asking your roommate how you can help may seem counterintuitive — we’re raised to expect a near-telepathic level of emotional understanding, with or without cues — but there’s nothing wrong with asking. Your roommate may not know what they want or need, and that’s ok too. If they do, though, then you have a direction to take and a good way to support them through the process of grieving and healing.
2. Give Them Space to Talk
Your roommate is probably feeling a lot of emotions right now. Grief, rage, sadness, loss, are all swirling around inside of them. One thing that can be really helpful is to let all those emotions out. Give them space to talk to you about how they’re feeling, what happened, everything. Just let it pour out of them. Don’t worry too much about advice or solving the problem at the moment, just let them vent. Processing takes time and having someone to lean on can greatly help that. Being there for your roommate is a great thing you can do for them.
3. Help With Day to Day Things
One of the hardest parts about a breakup is the fact that a lot of things don’t change. You’re hurting but the world is still turning and there’re still things you need to do. One great way you can support your roommate is by taking some of those day-to-day things off their plate. Whether it’s doing some dishes, finishing a load of laundry for them, or just lending a hand with the daily upkeep of living together, it can be really helpful to someone going through a breakup to not have to worry about the small stuff as much.
4. Don’t Bad Mouth Their Ex
It’s a completely understandable human instinct, especially if the relationship that just ended was a bad one. Breakups can often be great things in the long run, especially if they free you from a toxic or manipulative environment. That’s in the long run, though. In the short term, it usually just hurts a lot. Even if you disapproved of their ex, insulting them or talking about how your roommate is much better off now won’t actually help them or make them feel better. Instead, it’ll make them refocus on what they’ve lost, which isn’t healthy. You’re welcome to pick apart the quality of the relationship at a later date, but when the hurt is still fresh, don’t bad mouth the ex.
5. Help Distract Them
The last thing your roommate needs right now is to ruminate on their pain until it’s all they can think about. Some recollection and angst are normal and healthy, but you should absolutely step in to make sure your roommate isn’t hiding away in their room feeling sad for days on end. Organize some fun, healthy distractions. Go out and do something fun, watch a movie or show together. Think of things they love and make sure you do them together. Distracting them from their pain will help them heal and move on quickly.
6. Give it Time
Healing is a process, and no matter how much you may want to help, there’s only so much you can do. At the end of the day, you can be there to support your roommate but the only thing that can really help them is time. Distractions, listening, help, and support can do a lot of good, and you should absolutely do them, but don’t beat yourself up if your roommate is still sad. They’re gonna have to be sad for a while, but given time, everyone heals from heartbreak.
Breakups are hard, but at least you’re not powerless before them. With these tips, you should have a good idea of how best to support your roommate and get them through the heartbreak and out the other side as best you possibly can.
How To Handle A Roommate Moving Out
No matter how hard you try to find the perfect roommate, situations may arise where your roommate may move out. It can be difficult to navigate, especially in an apartment with a lease where legal issues that may arise. When a roommate does move out, handling the situation calmly and effectively is crucial for moving forward and settling into a new groove.
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Figure out belongings
If you and your roommate shared decorating duties, you will need to figure out who gets what. The simplest way to handle this is to look at receipts to see who purchased what. This way, you can see who paid for which items. The person who paid for the item gets it. If you are still arguing or you cannot find the receipts for an item, consider donating it to a thrift store or another organization. Make sure the person who is moving out is satisfied with whichever you decide.
Talk to your landlord
As soon as your roommate expresses that they are moving out, get in touch with your landlord. It is crucial that you proceed in a way that does not damage your relationship with the landlord, especially if you are looking to stay in the apartment and potentially bring in a new roommate. The landlord will walk you through how to proceed legally without breaking your end of the lease. If you are able to make rent, you are more than likely going to be okay with staying in the apartment. Otherwise, your landlord may not want you to stay. If you talk to your landlord, they will be more willing to help you with the situation.
Have them pay
The roommate who is moving out still may have to pay for things like rent and utilities for the remainder of the lease. If they fail to pay their share, you can take them to small claims court for the amount they refuse to pay. While you do not need a lawyer for small claims court, it may be a good idea to consult with one. If the roommate is on your lease, it is likely that the court will rule in your favor. The court may automatically rule in your favor if the roommate does not show up for court.
Find a substitute cotenant
You may want to have the roommate who is moving out help to find a new person to live in their place, but you should also be searching. When you do find a new roommate, be sure to have them fill out a rental application so your landlord knows who they are and can verify their rental history. This will help ensure that you can continue paying your share of rent and that you avoid legal issues. Avoid the temptation to bring in a new roommate without letting your landlord know.
Check out your roommate agreement
You may have a clause in your roommate agreement to protect yourself legally and financially if this situation arises. The agreement should say how much notice must be given, how much financial responsibility each roommate has, and other crucial information to help navigate the situation.
Communication is key
Communication is important in all aspects of having a roommate, but it is especially crucial to keep in contact through the process of moving out. If you need them to sign documents or pay their share of the rent, you will need to be able to contact them. Have multiple ways to contact them just in case you are struggling to get in touch with them. Remind them of their obligations to pay their share and to find a replacement roommate if needed. If you are struggling to get in touch with the roommate, let your landlord know as soon as possible so they can help navigate the situation.
Be kind to the landlord
Having a roommate move out is difficult for you and your landlord. It is not the landlord’s fault that the roommate decided to leave, so be gentle with them. Be understanding of things that you may have to do in order to assist your landlord, and be willing to provide any necessary documentation and evidence in case it is needed. Keep your space clean, especially if you are moving out and your landlord is looking to show your space to potential new tenants. In general, be a good tenant for the remainder of your lease if you choose to stay. Your roommate moving out is technically breaking the lease and it gives your landlord grounds to evict the remaining roommate(s). If you want to stay, be sure to be an extra good tenant. Pay your rent and utilities in a timely manner and be on your best behavior in general.
Having a roommate move out can seem like an impossible situation to navigate with the legal issues that may arise, but knowing how to handle the situation can help you be sure you are taking care of it properly.
6 Tips to Help You Deal With Being Excluded by Roommates
No roommate’s living situation is perfect. Unfortunately, there are occasions where you can experience roommate problems, whether it be over privacy, splitting bills, or even feeling excluded by them. When you are living with multiple roommates, it can be easy to feel quickly detached and isolated from them, which can lead to more problems.
If you are in a roommate situation where you’re excluded by one or more roommates, here are six simple ways to try and fix the problem.
1. Think It Through First: Just about everyone is guilty of overthinking at some point in their lives. Overthinking can turn even the most level-headed people upside down, so before you make assumptions about your roommate’s behavior and go straight to believing that they are excluding you, try to logically piece together what would make sense based on your relationship with them, your work/school schedule, what has been going on in their personal life (as well as yours), etc. For example, your roommates may work together and be extra busy on certain days of the week, or perhaps you’ve been bogged down with heavy school work which makes you have to be more focused and isolated. Regardless of the situation, evaluate the outside factors that may make you feel disconnected first before you have a sit-down talk.
2. Try to Talk It Out: Communication is a pivotal aspect of making any relationship work, whether it be a romantic, platonic, or roommate one. If you have thought things over and are still feeling excluded, ask your roommate(s) if they have some time to sit and talk with you for a minute, perhaps over dinner or during the weekend when everyone is home. Convey to them everything you’ve been feeling and express to them all the ways that you want to be more included with them. If you have a solid relationship with your roommates, this should be a smooth and easygoing conversation that ends on a positive note. If you have yet to get close to your roommates, this could be a bit more uncomfortable or difficult to handle- be patient and do your best with their reactions.
3. Lean on People Close to You: Sometimes, no matter what you say or do, you still can feel excluded and isolated by your roommates. In this case, try to lean on people close to you, like your friends, parents, co-workers, etc. Schedule a date to Facetime your best friend, give your mom or dad a call, take a walk with some coffee with a classmate, or grab a bite to eat with a coworker. These very real connections can help you feel more connected to those around you and less like an outsider. Remember, if you’re not open with your friends and family, they won’t know that you’re feeling down.
4. Distract Yourself With Your Favorite Hobbies: If you have free time and are excluded by your roommates, one thing that you can do is distract yourself by doing some of your favorite hobbies. This isn’t a total replacement for having friends and close relationships, but taking part in little things that make you feel good. Cuddle up with your favorite blankets and pillows and watch a favorite Youtuber, Netflix show, or movie. Have a self-care day (or night) and get a warm bath/shower, and take time to do your hair and even your nails. Make your favorite meal that reminds you of home and talk with your friends or family to make you feel loved.
5. Offer to Invite Yourself: Sometimes exclusion can happen by accident and without the other parties realizing it. Perhaps in the past, you’ve repeatedly rejected offers to go out, or maybe they’re doing an activity they think you wouldn’t like, in either scenario, it can be hard on your roommate’s end to gauge if it’s appropriate to invite you out or not. In this case, try “inviting yourself” and see where that conversation can go. Ask them if you can tag along when they go out, or better yet make your own plans and invite them to join you.
6. Take a Break From Social Media: In today’s world, it is almost impossible to not see what everyone is doing, which can definitely make you feel lonely and excluded. Taking a break from social media can give your mind and heart a rest from the pressures that social media exudes, and help your mental health overall. When you’re ready to get back on, do so- but don’t forget you can get back off at any time.
Confronting your roommate(s) about feeling excluded takes courage and can feel uncomfortable, but if you are honest about your feelings and take time to care for yourself, dealing with the situation will be much more tolerable.
How To Live With Uncommunicative Roommates Without Going Crazy
Roommate horror stories – everyone has at least one. Unfortunately, some are more extreme than others. Some people are lucky enough that their roommate conflicts are limited to the rarely forgotten household chore, or leaving the light on during a weekend away. These small issues can be rare, and hardly a big deal in the grand scheme of things. However, others aren’t lucky in the same situation. You may find yourself in a situation where you are sharing your living space with uncommunicative roommates. This can lead to a multitude of issues in your living situation: passive-aggressiveness, incompleted chores, and sadly, never seeming to be on the same page as each other.
Living with uncommunicative roommates can cause mental distress on a daily basis and leave you counting down the days until you can get out of the apartment when your lease ends. Sadly, you may have weeks and months left to navigate living together. Keep reading for tips on how to live with uncommunicative roommates without going crazy.
Be honest and upfront
As much as giving the same type of energy back to your uncommunicative roommates may satisfy your cravings for revenge, it will only make the situation worse in the long run. Don’t be passive-aggressive in return to them being passive-aggressive, as much as you want to.
If you want your roommate to be clear and honest with you, you need to set the standard by doing so yourself. Sure, this does not guarantee that your roommate will land on the same page as you and learn to be more communicative, but it does encourage them to start doing so.
Figure out their preferred communication method
Some roommates are completely anti-confrontation and freeze up once confronted in person. This can result in them being hostile and unwilling to come to an agreement, or completely silent and disengaged from the conversation. Both can be equally frustrating and leave you further from a solution than you were at the beginning of the discussion turned confrontation. If you’ve noticed that any in-person discussions have gone wrong, seek alternate communication methods that can work better.
Is your issue stemming from one roommate in a four-person living situation? If all your discussions have been the four of you, the roommate at the center of the issue may feel like it is a three-against-one confrontation where they feel uncomfortable and targeted, leading to them shutting down or getting more aggressive to defend themselves rather than engaging in a healthy, effective conversation. If that is the case, consider facilitating a one-on-one conversation so that both parties can feel like they are on the same page. If you do go with this approach, make sure you are not unfairly making any one person the designated spokesperson of the household that dictates the opinion of three people.
If you have been communicating solely over the phone – you may be creating issues unknowingly. As much time as we spend on our phones, a lot can be left unsaid when it comes to communicating via text or messaging apps. If you are attempting most of your conflict resolution through text, it may be hard to figure out what the other person is really thinking, or worse, get them to reply and talk as you would in a face-to-face conversation. Talk to your roommate to figure out a time that works best for both of you to sit down and have an in-person discussion.
Can a solution be met on your own?
Sadly, some people will just never get the memo and continue to do their own thin g, without sparing an extra thought to how it can impact those around them. No matter how many attempts to get you and your roommates on the same page, you may find yourself stuck at a standstill with you being the only one willing to communicate and work on the issue. If this is the case, one of your only options may be to figure out a solution that you can carry out on your own to minimize or end the issue at hand.
For example, one issue may be that your roommates have been using your dishes, leading to them being always dirty when you need them, or missing from the kitchen entirely. No matter how many times you have asked your roommates to either stop using your dishes or wash them right after using them, the issue can unfortunately persist. If this is the case for you and your roommates, the solution may just end up being you storing your dishes in your own bedroom where your roommates can no longer access them, forcing them to use their dishes or get their own. This can be seen as an aggressive approach, but it may be the only thing you do to ensure that a solution is met when you are living with uncommunicative roommates and you have exhausted all other options.
Living with others can be a difficult situation for just about everyone. If even just one person is being uncommunicative, it can make the situation worse. With these tips in mind, you can help yourself navigate the rest of your lease while minimizing conflict and keeping yourself sane.
Roommate Etiquette and Gift Giving This Holiday Season
By Aaron Swartz
With the holiday season upon us, those of you who have the mixed pleasure of living with roommates are probably left pondering the old adage: naughty or nice? Living with roommates can be a lot of fun, but there can also be a lot of questions and challenges when it comes to roommate etiquette regarding gift-giving and the gift itself. Not sure how to approach presents for your roommate this holiday season or what to get them as a gift? Well if you’re dealing with either of these struggles (or even both) then worry not! In this double-whammy of an article, we’ll be giving you our most important pieces of roommate gift-giving etiquette, along with some great gift ideas for the person or people who share your home.
Top Tips On Roommate Gift-Giving Etiquette
1. Communicate: Really, where else is there to start, and what else is there to say? When you’re cohabitating with someone you need to be able to talk things out with them, and that certainly applies to holiday traditions. Discuss the holidays with your roommate and make sure that you’re on the same page on all fronts. Are you giving each other gifts this holiday season? Should you set a budget limit so your gifts are appropriate for each other and roughly cost the same? When are you planning to exchange presents? It can make for an uncomfortable moment if you get your roommate a gift and they didn’t get you one or vice versa – or if one of you clearly spent more money and thought on their gift than the other. Either way, discussing how you want to approach the holiday and gifting will make it more enjoyable for both of you.
2. Splitting Costs: If you live with more than one roommate, perhaps you want to split the costs of a gift for one roommate with your other roommate/, and have that be the approach for gifts for each roommate. Of course, this should only be done if you all agree to do so in order to keep the gift-giving fair and the same for everyone.
3. Be Respectful: Perhaps your roommate has different customs when it comes to celebrating holidays, whether it’s because they have a different faith or just different familial traditions. Whatever the case may be, the most polite thing you can do in any circumstance is to simply be respectful. Ask your roommate how they’d like to mark the holiday and treat them as you’d want to be treated.
Now let’s think about one of the best parts of the holiday season: gift-giving! Giving gifts to your roommates can be a lot of fun or kind of tricky depending on how well you know them, so to help you get started here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Top Roommate Gift Ideas
1. Games to Play: Spending time with your roommates is a lot of fun, so get them something that’ll allow you to have fun together! Board games like Settlers of Catan, or card games like the eminent Cards Against Humanity make great gifts for the people you’re living with.
2. Household Items: The biggest thing binding you all together is the fact that you live together, which means you know better than anyone where the weak links are in the household. Need a new spatula, a nice rug, or some pretty drapes for the living room? Does your roommate always complain about the shower and would love to have a new showerhead? Things with household utility can be great gifts for the people in your life.
3. Gag Gifts: If there’s one thing living with friends generates, it’s comedy. We’re willing to bet you have at least a few inside jokes with your roommates, whether it’s about your landlord, a pet cat, or something as random as the letter W. Lean into those jokes and get them something that’ll make them laugh, or get them something that’s just funny on its own, no shared history required.
4. Decorations: There’s one thing that turns a house into a home, and that’s the care you put into decorating it. Whether it’s a picture of a moose from Target or a tasteful yet refined coffee table, decor can be a great gift for your roommates to make your living space even better.
5. Trust Your Gut: Ultimately, there’s only one last piece of advice we can give and that’s to trust your gut. You live with this person, you know what they’re like. If you think they’ll like something, chances are you’re probably right.
The holidays are just about upon us and it’s about time to get rid of the bad and bring in the good. That means reminding yourself how to be the best roommate possible and getting something that’ll really bring light to the fast-approaching new year for those you live with. After reading this article, you’re now prepared to do both, so get out there and do it!
How To Get Your Roommate To Step Up On Apartment Responsibilities
Living with a roommate has its perks, but it can be difficult at times. This is especially true when it comes to getting roommates to chip in with chores and other responsibilities. It can be challenging to get roommates to chip in their part, leaving you with handling the apartment responsibilities on top of your student responsibilities. Knowing how to delegate duties and encourage your roommate to step up can reduce stress and improve the relationship with your roommate.
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Talk it out
Before you even move in together, decide what responsibilities need to be done with the apartment. In most situations, these responsibilities include paying bills, doing chores, and going grocery shopping. Decide who wants to be in charge of which and have each roommate chip in equally. If arguments arise, opt to have some time and space for a bit while you settle down and regroup later. Talk calmly yet be firm about what needs to be done. Bring in another person if things are not getting better.
As mentioned above, splitting up who does what can help reduce the stress on each person. Even if you each chip in equally for each responsibility, having a designated person to manage each responsibility can help take the pressure off one person managing everything. If one roommate is better at being clean and organized, have that person be in charge of cleaning. Have your roommate who loves shopping manage the groceries. This allows you and your roommate to play to your strengths, which can help motivate you to get what needs to be done, done.
Create a visual
Seeing what has been done and what still needs to be done can help you and your roommates stay motivated to keep up with your responsibilities. Make a list of what chores need to be done and on what days. Add these tasks to a calendar, and create a separate chart for who is responsible for what. Check the tasks off the calendar once they are complete. Be sure to add the due dates of bills to the calendar as well so you know how much time you have until they need to be paid and the proper arrangements can be made. Being able to physically see what needs to be done can help keep you and your roommate organized and on track. Having things digital may cause things to be lost.
Avoid being overly critical
It can be tempting to criticize your roommate for doing something differently than you would do. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning and organizing your apartment. However, this can leave them not wanting to pitch in to help with their responsibilities. Be understanding of their preferences and differences in how they do things. Also, remember that you and your roommate have different schedules and different things going on. Be mindful of this and do not be too harsh if things are not completed the day they are set to. Trash getting taken out and bills being paid are the only exceptions as these likely have set days to be completed.
Reference the roommate agreement
It is likely that you and your roommate created a roommate agreement before moving in together. This outlined what would be expected in terms of cleanliness and how various responsibilities would be handled. If you do not already have one, it may be a good idea to create one now so you have a way to resolve issues that may arise in the future. Your roommate agreement should have a guideline of what needs to be done, by whom, and when. Of course, as mentioned, there should be a bit of leeway when it comes to tasks like cleaning and grocery shopping if schedules change a bit. However, if things just are not getting done in general, sit down with your roommate and pull out the roommate agreement. Feel free to amend the roommate agreement if things have changed, especially in terms of schedules.
While you should be open to how things get done and you should have some flexibility regarding when tasks are completed, it is important that chores and responsibilities do get done. Give some leeway the first and even the second time your roommate does not complete their responsibilities but have a talk about what they need to do moving forward. If you continue to have issues, talk to your landlord, especially if you are having issues getting your roommate to pay their share of rent and utilities. Ask your landlord what you can do and what can be done to ensure you are not in jeopardy of losing your apartment. They may be able to provide some advice and possible consequences to bring up with your roommate.
Living with a roommate can mean difficulties sharing responsibilities, but with some communication and a bit of flexibility, things can get done.
7 Signs You're a Bad Roommate
No roommate is perfect, but there are definitely a handful of notable qualities and traits that classify a person as a bad roommate. From borrowing things that aren’t yours to leaving your apartment a total disaster, here are seven signs that show you could be a bad roommate.
1. You Obsessively Clean: While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a tidy apartment, things can take a bit of a sour turn when you start to obsessively clean and allow for zero messes or imperfections to exist in your apartment. Having a dish in the sink does not warrant you cleaning it and subsequently getting upset over it. A crumb here and there, a filled trash can, a streaky floor, etc., happen as life does, but don’t let these occurrences get in the way of a meaningful relationship with your roommate. Communicate your expectations for having a clean apartment with your roommate, but also be realistic about the level of cleanliness, as you don’t want to make your roommate feel like they can’t live or breathe in their own home.
2. You’re a Total Slob: On the opposite side of the spectrum, you similarly can be a bad roommate by being a total slob. While it would be ridiculous for you to clean as if it is your job, you also should respect your space, and the space of your roommate, enough to keep it clean. Taking out the trash, cleaning dishes regularly so there is not a pileup, sweeping the floors here and there, cleaning the toilet, etc., are all small tasks you can do to maintain a standard level of cleanliness in your home.
3. You Never Leave Your Room/Apartment: Staying in your apartment is fine to do, but when you never leave, you don’t make it easy for your roommate to have any kind of privacy. Sure, the two of you may have separate rooms, but the physical presence of you being in your apartment all the time can feel suffocating, and subsequently make you a bad roommate. Consider taking a walk around campus, grabbing a coffee, meeting up with a friend, going shopping, visiting the library, etc., to free up some time out of the apartment and give your roommate a bit of privacy.
4. You Always Have Your S/O Over: Your roommate(s) signed a lease with you and you only. While it is normal for you to bring over your boyfriend and girlfriend on occasion, it is not ok to have them constantly lingering around your apartment, rent-free, in the presence of your roommate, at all times. Again, this is a matter of privacy, and if you are out of the apartment during the day in class and your S/O is behind with your roommate, that can be a bit of an uncomfortable situation.
5. You “Borrow” What Isn’t Yours: A huge point of contention that often occurs between roommates is borrowing or taking items that don’t belong to the respective roommate. Whether it’s a bowl of cereal in the morning, an article of clothing, or even shampoo, borrowing items without your roommate’s permission is not only disrespectful, but it’s also a big breach of trust, which makes you a horrible roommate. If you and your roommate communicate what can and cannot be shared beforehand, that’s one thing, but if you take liberties and use their personal items without their knowledge, shame on you!
6. You Party Too Much: College is a time to learn, socialize, and have fun. It is certainly important to maintain a healthy balance of working, studying, and having fun, but when you stay up until the early hours of the morning, get loud and rowdy, drink excessively, blast music, etc., that can pose a significant problem with your roommate. It is fine to party on your own, but when you bring the party back to your apartment, you run the risk of crossing the line with what your roommate will tolerate. Be respectful of their time by having a party curfew, honoring quiet hours, and kicking out your friends at an appropriate time of the night.
7. You Never Shop for the House: There is nothing worse than someone who uses items and doesn’t replace them. When living with a roommate, it is fair for you both to contribute to the goods needed for the house, whether that be food items or toiletries. If you place that burden on your roommate, however, resentment can start to brew and soon you will find that they’ll grow tired of constantly draining their time, energy, and money into stuff that you are also using.
Living with others can have its ups and downs, and no roommate situation is perfect. However, there are a few signs you should take into consideration from time to time, as to determine if you are a bad roommate. If you can do this, your roommate relationship, and overall living experience, will be smooth and positive!