College Roommate Tips
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.
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!
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.
Image: Breakingpic via https://www.pexels.com/photo/pen-calendar-to-do-checklist-3243/
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.
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!
By Aaron Swartz
If you’re on the East Coast and you’ve been outside recently then you know as well as anyone that fall is officially here. The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing, and those particular fall flavors are starting to make their way into food and drink everywhere. It’s a great time for you to get out there with your roommates and have a blast — or stay inside and cozy up as the weather cools even further. Either way, if you’re looking for the best ways to enjoy the fall with your friends, here are six great activities you should try this autumn that won’t break the bank.
1. Go On a Fall Hike
When most people think about fall the first thing they think about is the leaves. The changing colors of fall foliage are simply beautiful, so why not go out and take it all in? Going on a fall hike with your roommates is a great way to get out of the house and take in the great weather and scenery. A lot of parks and hiking trails are open to the public at no cost, which means you can enjoy a great day out without emptying your pockets. Take some photos along the way to remember just how beautiful it is out there, before winter hits and we’re all stuck in cold greyness.
2. Build a Blanket Fort
There are those of you who might think that building a blanket fort is childish. To those people, I would say “absolutely not!” Blanket forts are an absolutely fantastic thing to do with your roommates, and they’re only limited by your imagination. You can shove a couch and an armchair together and create a great little crawlspace, or you can use blankets and engineering know-how to turn your entire living room into one massive fort. Then you can get cozy inside and bundle up against the fall chill, watch a movie together, or just talk and play. There’s nothing wrong with a return to childhood, so get the blankets and pillows and get building!
3. Leaf Piles
The biggest immediate association most people have with fall is — wait for it — fallen leaves. And while they can be really annoying if you have a yard you’re trying to keep clean, they also present a unique opportunity for a really fun part of fall: leaf piles. If you have a yard, then great! Rake together all the leaves and dive right in! If you don’t, then take a look around your area for public parks, where you can do the exact same thing. Jumping into a leaf pile, throwing leaves at your friends, burying each other, it’s all a ton of fun! You should definitely consider making a leaf pile as part of your fall plans.
4. Build a Campfire
As the temperature drops this fall you need to start finding ways to stay warm. One great opportunity the changing weather provides is building a campfire. Campfires are a great way to spend an evening or night with your friends. You can roast marshmallows, tell spooky stories, or just hang around and enjoy the warmth and the firelight. If you have a hint of a pyromaniac streak (and who doesn’t) then building a fire with your roommates is a great way to spend your fall.
5. Go to a Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are great! They’re full of all sorts of unique stalls, great products and produce, and some great people. In the fall, with the weather getting cooler and everyone wanting to enjoy the season, going to your local farmer’s market is even better! Swing by with your roommates and take a look at all the great stuff around, enjoy the weather, maybe grab a cup of hot cocoa and keep yourself warm. If nothing else it’s another great excuse to get out and enjoy the weather, so be sure to drop by your area’s market for a great day out.
6. Get Ready for Halloween
All Hallows Eve is the perfect cap off to October and it’s one of the heights of the fall season, so you and your roommates should absolutely prepare to celebrate! You can come up with a group costume, DIY some decorations for your home, watch some spooky movies and just generally enjoy the most haunted part of the year. Halloween is a blast, so make sure you enjoy it with the important people in your life.
Fall is a fantastic time of year with a lot of great things you can do. Whether you’re exploring the season and playing in the leaves, or staying inside and cozying up with your friends and family, there are a ton of options for how to spend the autumn months. With this list, you’ve got a couple of great ideas for how to make the most of the fall without making the least of your bank account. Have fun out there!
The only thing that is possibly worse than being in a conflict with your roommate is being the middleman stuck between two fighting roommates. When living with multiple roommates, problems are going to arise, as it’s just a part of being human. Whether one roommate neglects to take the trash out or another is always borrowing shampoo without asking, roommate conflicts can sometimes be inevitable to deal with.
Sometimes, to keep the peace in your apartment or home with your fighting roommates, you have to get in the middle of it and be an advocate for both sides. If you are in a living situation where your roommates constantly bicker and argue to the point that you have to get involved, here are some simple ways to be the mediator between them.
1. Let Each Side Argue Their Case: All conflicts start with an issue, and from that issue, each person has a line of defense on whether or not they contributed to the issue. This can get murky and complicated because it’s not always easy to determine how the issue originally started or who is most responsible. From here, however, it’s important to let your roommates speak their side in a calm and respectful manner to not only help them get their feelings out but also to give you a better understanding of the situation. By doing this, you can have a complete idea of the conflict and offer the best solutions to help them resolve their issues.
2. Advise Them to Change Their Approach: Most people immediately jump into a defensive attitude or mindset when they are faced with a conflict, that’s just human nature. Because of this defensiveness, people tend to push and deflect blame onto the other person, which can lead to accusatory language and mean vocal tones. Rather than letting them point the finger at the other person, advise each of your roommates to change their approach by using more “I” words and fewer “you” words. Your roommates can practice this by saying “It would help me if you were more proactive about washing the dishes,” versus “You left all of your dirty dishes in the sink. I can’t do this anymore.”
3. Encourage Open Communication: Almost all roommate problems stem from a lack of communication one way or another. Many times, we assume that our roommates can read our minds and tell exactly what we’re thinking, but that is never the case. As you are mediating the situation between your other roommates, encourage an open dialogue during the conversation and even after the fact. Being open about how they feel, explicitly stating their boundaries and what they are ok with, and detailing how they’d like to live on a day-to-day basis can help to avoid problems in the future that may be miscommunicated along the way.
4. Create Visuals/Write Things Down: In the midst of mediating the conflicts with your roommates, things can get heated. From exchanging hurtful words to talking over one another, trying to find a common ground between your fighting roommates can take a good deal of effort and elbow grease. To maintain clarity among the chaos, try to create visuals or write important things down that either your roommates may have said or something you want to bounce off of later on. You may not be able to reference everything you’ve written down at first, but once their conflict cools off and you can sit down with them together, a good notebook with pointers is a great way to lead a conversation without a blow-up. Additionally, if house responsibilities are causing issues between your roommates, write out chores on a dry-erase board or a calendar to have that extra reminder of responsibilities and avoid another potential fight.
5. Lighten the Mood Afterwards: Tackling roommate issues is exhausting for all parties. Hashing out uncomfortable topics, getting emotional, and dealing with potential consequences is not fun for anyone, let alone someone stuck in the middle of two people’s problems. Instead of keeping a hostile, gloomy, awkward mood in the house, try to lighten it by offering to go out for a walk, grab some food, play a game, watch a movie, etc. Any activity that can divert their attention off of their previous conflict and into something positive is just another step to help heal the relationship, while also giving you some peace as well!
While it can be unsettling and uncomfortable to be in the middle of a conflict between your roommates, helping them resolve their issues can make life more calm and peaceful for you while you are all under the same roof.
Many people dream of having their best friend be their roommate. Sometimes, this works out, but not always. Being roommates with your best friend can come with unexpected challenges. Before you jump in and move in together with your good friends, it is crucial to take a step back and decide if your friends will make good roommates. Knowing how you and your roommate can handle certain situations and boundaries will be helpful in this decision.
Image via Pexels
Respectful of boundaries
As friends, you likely have boundaries in place such as how often you want to be contacted and when is a good time to reach you. All healthy relationships have boundaries, and in good relationships, these boundaries are respected. Boundaries are especially important when it comes to being roommates. You may want to spend every moment together and share everything, but each person needs to lay boundaries that will be honored and respected by the other person. If this is not something that has been feasible in your current friendship before becoming roommates, it will make being roommates more difficult and will strain your relationship.
Together but separate
As friends, it is only natural that you want to do as many things as possible together, especially now that you are living together. However, this bliss will eventually wear off and you will come to need some things that are separate. Try to get ahead of this by keeping some things separate. If possible, have separate bedrooms so you can have your own spaces to escape to when you need some privacy. Have classes and activities that you do on your own. Have other friends on campus that you spend time with other than your roommate. You may even opt to spend a few hours a week in a coffee shop by yourself to get work done without your friend. This does not mean that you do not like your roommate. It is simply a boundary to help keep things separate so the friendship stays strong.
Level of knowledge about your friend
If you are living in a dorm or apartment for the first time, it can be nice to have someone you know already can be really comforting. However, it is important that you know about the person and their living habits. Going into a roommate situation with someone you think you know only to find out their living habits are not what you thought can be challenging. This can happen when roommates do not know each other at all, but usually, this is something that is asked about before moving in. Ask your friend if they have any habits their family finds frustrating, such as being messy or even leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge. That way, you know ahead of time and can decide if you want to move in together or not. Otherwise, these things will get on your nerves and you will dread your living situation.
When you have a best friend, the extent of financial conversations is typically splitting bills at restaurants or even concert tickets. However, this changes when you move in together. You have to work out how you will be paying bills like rent, utilities, and even groceries. These conversations may become difficult, especially if you have never talked about these kinds of issues with your friend before. Before moving in together, have a conversation about how you will handle the finances of living together and how you each will pay. Be sure to find out if they have ever been late on other kinds of payments. This way, you are prepared and you will not be surprised. Knowing how you will work things out can help ensure your friendship lasts through disagreements that may arise.
When you live with your best friend, it is tempting to want to have fun all the time and talk constantly now that it is easier to do so. However, it is important that you know when it is time to focus and get work time and when it is time to have some fun. These distractions can lead to lower grades, especially if they are cutting into your study and assignment time. Carve out time each day when you can have a conversation with your friend about things such as upcoming plans, finances, and anything else you need to discuss. Also, have time carved out as study time so you can both work on schoolwork without distracting each other. Outside of these times, you are free to have fun and talk as much as you would like. Again, this boundary is crucial for ensuring that you are both successful and are able to maintain a friendship without feeling like the other person is disrupting your grades and college life.
Being upfront with situations that may arise over the course of living together can help figure out if you and your friend will be compatible as roommates. If you talk about these things and find yourselves getting into an argument, it may be best not to be roommates. Otherwise, you will make great roommates.
When it comes to living with roommates, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages you will face. Every roommate situation is different, some people live with complete strangers while others opt to live with close friends. Whatever the case may be, it is no secret that sharing a living space with someone else – regardless of how well you know each other – can lead to some tension or uncomfortable situations. While you cannot anticipate or prevent every single argument or problem between roommates, you can take steps to make living together much easier, starting with following basic roommate etiquette.
What can be considered basic roommate etiquette? While everyone may have different living situations, there’s still roommate etiquette to follow – keep reading for ideas of what you can do
to be a better roommate.
Be mindful of guests
Some roommates are ok with an open guest policy, allowing you to bring over any amount of guests whenever you please. While others may prefer a proper heads up and a limited amount of people over in their living space. Whatever the situation is, it is important to be mindful of you and your roommate’s guest policy.
While it is your apartment and you should be able to invite whoever you want, you are sharing the space with your roommate and they have the right to speak up and voice when they feel uncomfortable. Communicate with your roommate to establish expectations around guests in your apartment, follow the expectations, and let each other know if the situation is no longer working and further compromise needs to be made.
Don’t assume your right to their belongings
While you may be sharing a living space with your roommate, that does not give you the right to share just about anything else with them. Some roommates are ok with sharing things like cleaning supplies, and household goods (toilet paper, napkins, etc), but draw the line when it comes to groceries and toiletries. Some are ok with sharing cooking appliances like a toaster, while they want to keep cooking utensils, pots, and dishes to themselves.
When you first start living together, establish what you and your roommate are willing to share, from kitchen goods to household supplies.
If you do find yourself needing something from your roommates, be sure to ask their permission beforehand. Depending on what you are using, offer to pay them or trade them, or refill their supply if you end up using it up.
Don’t treat common spaces like your personal space
Depending on your living situation, you may have varying levels of what you would be able to deem as personal space. Some people will have access to their own personal bedroom and bathroom, while others may have to share their bedroom and bathroom along with the usual common spaces like an entryway, living room, and kitchen. While your personal space grants you the freedom to decorate and use the space as you please, the same should not be applied to common spaces.
In most cases, everyone should have equal access to common spaces and have equal rights to use the space. However, common spaces should be treated as shared spaces, from how they are decorated to how they are maintained. For example, while you may be ok leaving your personal bedroom a bit messy and keeping things like clothes and books thrown about, you shouldn’t treat the living room the same way. Remember to clean up after yourself and not use the living room as an extension of your personal bedroom.
If you do want to decorate areas like the living room, make sure to communicate with your roommate(s) prior to starting. Some may give you free rein while others may wish to have a say in how the room is decorated.
Don’t be a hypocrite
When living with another person, a good living environment happens when all parties have the ability to understand each other and communicate properly. Compromise is typically a must as everyone has different desires and expectations on how to use their space.
Upon move-in, people typically establish some set of roommate rules, from cleaning duties to guest policies. If you have certain expectations of your roommate, make sure you are setting and following the expectations yourself.
For example, you cannot get upset with your roommate bringing friends over often because you feel like they are intruding on your living space, but then bring your own friends over for your own hangouts. Likely, your roommate will feel like it’s unfair – and you would be completely in the wrong for not allowing your roommate the same freedom you are giving yourself.
Sharing a living space with someone else can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, and tension. By following this basic roommate etiquette, you can help keep you and your roommates on the same page during your time living together.
There’s an age-old saying that goes something like, “when one door closes, another one opens.” Living with a roommate while in college is one of the only predictable things about the college experience, and throughout your time in college, you’ll more than likely experience your fair share of roomies. While you may have thought your freshman year bestie was in it for the long run, differences in lifestyle or drastic changes could put you back in the market for seeking a new roommate.
When the time comes that you have a new roommate coming to your apartment, you want to be prepared for their arrival. Here’s six simple ways you can get your apartment ready for a new roomie and make the transition smooth for both of you!
1. Go Back to the Design Basics: After one roommate leaves, they often leave their personal touches and styles on the physical space of the apartment, including the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. As all of these areas are shared spaces, you don’t want one person’s glaring style taking over, which leaves the other person feeling left out and like they don’t have an input.
Before your new roommate makes it to move-in day, go through each of those spaces and strip it down to its original look as much as you can. This means taking down artwork that might have been theirs, painting over their unique wall patterns, etc. Basically, you want your spaces to be more neutral so your roommate feels welcome to add their decorations too.
2. Work on Their Room: Similar to how your old roommate might have left their mark behind in the shared spaces of your apartment, they more than likely did this (and arguably more) in their bedroom.
Before your new roommate arrives, try to make their bedroom as neutral as possible by cleaning up any leftover decorations or design choices left behind by your old roomie. This could be wall art, wall paint, wallpaper, etc., and could even include furniture or small decor items they may have left behind. In this sense, you’re making your roommate’s room feel as blank as possible, so they can style it the way they want.
3. Have Your Pantry Stocked: While you may feel comfortable with running low on grocery items or having a limited selection of snacks, dinners, etc., your roommate most likely will not feel the same way- different strokes for different folks, right? Your new roommate more than likely will come with some food and snacks to last a few days, but in terms of long-term food items, they will probably be lacking.
In this case, it is important to stock up your pantry with food that your roommate can have for at least the first week they’re settling in. This can include breakfast foods like cereal, oatmeal, eggs, toast, etc., lunch foods like bread, deli meat and cheese, chips, salads, protein bars, and dinner foods like pasta, sauce, rice, chicken, soup, etc.
4. Talk Through Ground Rules: Establishing ground rules is the first thing you should do when your new roommate arrives. Effectively communicating what you believe is fair in terms of sharing a living space can help to avoid any misconceptions and blow-out arguments in the future.
Ground rules can include determining who does chores (such as taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, etc.), when and where to have friends over, respecting quiet hours, etc. Your roommate may have a different opinion or perspective on some of the rules, so be open to hearing them out and compromise if you need to.
5. Establish a Monthly Budget: One very important element about living with someone, especially if you are in an apartment/house, is figuring out how to split up living expenses like rent/amenities/cable and internet.
To make splitting bills easier, put together a chart or spreadsheet of expenses that each person owes to organize payments and keep track of who pays what. The spreadsheet can include rent, electricity, water, cable/internet, the due date for each bill, the amount needed to be paid (if split, per person), and the person responsible for the bill. Taking on adult responsibilities and figuring out how to effectively split bills can be difficult but it will definitely save you any kind of money-related trouble in the future.
6. Schedule a Roomie Date: As your roommate is getting adjusted to their new living situation, they may feel overwhelmed and even homesick at points. As a way to properly welcome your new roomie and make them feel confident about their living situation, set up a day or night for you guys to hang out. Figure out what their schedule is like and make a plan to go to a party, have a movie night, or even go on an adventure around campus! Doing this not only can help you get to know your roommate, but it’s also a great way to create a better, closer bond with them.
Going from living with an old roommate to a stranger can be a large adjustment, and at times, prove to be difficult. If you do your best to make them feel welcome from the start and communicate effectively, you’ll more than likely have a good experience!
By Aaron Swartz
Having a roof over your head costs an arm and a leg, so it’s no surprise most people end up looking for a few extra limbs to help them split the cost. I’m talking, of course, about roommates, the saving grace for anyone who wants to live somewhere but doesn’t have a six-figure salary. Roommates are great for a lot of reasons — the least of which is helping cover rent — but not every roommate is perfect. Before you move in with someone there are a few things you should get sorted out to make sure you won’t drive each other up the wall, and to help you find the best roommate possible here are six questions you should ask your potential roommate before you start living together.
1. Sleep Schedules
It’s a classic question, but it’s so oft-repeated because it is quite literally one of the most important things you can know about your potential new roommate. Some people go to bed at 8 PM every night, while some don’t sleep till after 3 in the morning. Those two probably won’t have the best time living together because their schedules are so mismatched. Ask your roommate if they’re a day or a night person, what time they usually sleep and wake up, and check in to see if your schedules will mesh. You don’t want to find out your roommate blasts music at midnight every night when you’ve already signed a lease and there’s no way out.
2. Social Life
Everyone has different ways they like to socialize, and your new roommate is no different. Ask them what their social life is like, how often they’re out of the house, and — perhaps more importantly — how often they want to invite people over. If you’re a party animal who has huge groups of people over every weekend then your quiet, introverted roommate might not have the best time in your joint living situation. Make sure you’re both broadly on the same page about social expectations before you decide if you’re a good fit.
Some people are neat freaks. Some people are not. There’s nothing wrong with either of those things… until you look at the disaster area your kitchen has become and want to scream. Most of these questions are about establishing where you and your roommate’s living styles align and differ, and this is no different. Some people keep a home that’s neat as a pin, not so much as a hair out of place. Some people have a more disorganized style, and those are both ok. Ask your roommate about their living style and their cleanliness, and whether or not you can negotiate a way for your two styles to coexist if you have differing expectations.
4. Substance Usage
Drugs and alcohol are part of adult life, but not everyone is comfortable with them. Whether it’s a religious choice, a moral one, a past history informing a present, or a simple disinterest, there are a lot of reasons why someone might choose to abstain from substances and you should check in with your roommate about what your expectations around substances should. Make sure everyone is comfortable with what happens in your shared home. At the end of the day, it’s always better to ask ahead of time than have to do damage control later.
5. Morals and Politics
There are some people who have friends from every possible background and creed, but there are almost always lines we draw around who we’re actually willing to associate with. That sound a little extreme, but moral differences between potential roommates can be a huge dealbreaker. If you’re incredibly left-leaning then you probably won’t want to share a living space with someone conservative. Similarly, some people may have strong religious beliefs, or might not be comfortable living with someone who is devout for whatever reason. Political and moral choices make up a lot of who we are, so establishing what kind of person your potential new roommate is is a really wise choice before you move in together.
6. Roommate Expectations
This might take a bit of explaining, but you should definitely ask your new roommate what they expect your dynamic as housemates to be like. For some people, roommates are best friends, maybe even as close as family. For others, a roommate is a stranger who happens to share a home with you. It’s a good idea for you two to establish your expectations out the gate. Are you just paying rent and being courteous in shared spaces? Are you having late-night gossip sessions every other day? Ask your roommate ahead of time how they see your collective dynamic playing out. If you’re on the same page, then you’ll probably enjoy living together.
Roommate hunting is a challenging prospect, but hopefully, these questions will make it a bit easier. From politics to cleanliness, by the time you’re done talking you’ll have a great idea whether you’re heading back to the drawing board or finally found the right person to move in with.