Being a better roommate benefits both you and the people you live with. If you’ve ever cohabited with someone before, you know how difficult it can be to live with someone and share a home peacefully. Everyone has their own way of doing things and has their own ideas on how they want to live. But all hope is not lost, being a better roommate can help you save your space and your sanity.
1. Choose Wisely
The first rule in being a better roommate is to choose your roomies wisely at the start. No matter how soon you want to move out of your parents’ house, it’s better to wait it out and find a roommate that you’ll be okay living with for the long run. Ask all of your prospective roomies a lot of questions. Don’t just go off how they look or what information they decide to divulge. Ask about their schedule, if they have a steady income and get a feel for their personality.
2. Dig Deeper
In addition to the basics, you also want to dig deeper and get an idea of what type of living arrangement they expect or are used to. Find out whether they like to have friends over often, if they have issues with your chinchilla Jezebel, or if they can’t sleep unless they listen to talk radio all night long. At the same time let him/her know what you’d like out of your living arrangement, also. Do you feel uncomfortable living with a diehard carnivore when you’re vegan? Do you have to have everything organized a certain way?
3. Decide and Divide
Once you get past the initial roommate selection process, get the financial stuff out of the way. Decide how you will pay rent, whose name the utilities will be in, when the money for bills and rent are expected, as well as who will do what chores and when. You can also discuss each of your pay schedules so you can divide up the bills in a way that works best for the both of you.
4. Make a Schedule
When you’re sharing a home with others, it’s critical to get to know your roommate’s schedule. If you both have morning classes and only one bathroom, things could get sticky fast. Or perhaps you’re a night owl but your roomie is an early bird; one of you is bound to disturb the other. Discuss schedules ahead of time and be flexible. If getting up an hour early on certain days guarantees that you’ll have uninterrupted time getting ready and showering, do it!
5. Follow through
Following through on your arrangement is imperative! You will be nominated worst roommate ever by your roomies if you’re all talk and no action. Avoid over committing yourself or committing to do things you hate to do or aren’t sure you’ll have time to do. You don’t have to agree to do anything and everything in order to win over your roommates, just follow through on what you can do!
6. Be Upfront
If you have a problem with your roommate’s cat hair crafts or their aversion to picking up their clothes, be upfront early on. Don’t expect him/her to read your mind and think they’ll suddenly realize what a slob they are. Address the issue early on so your roomie knows it bothers you. Don’t wait to address issues until you can’t take it anymore, where it’ll likely turn into a big fight.
7. Be Respectful
Another important part of being a good roommate is to be respectful. Be respectful of your roommate’s things, their friends, food, schedule and their privacy. Even if you don’t think she’ll mind if you borrow her LBD, always ask first and don’t assume anything. The two of you have a living arrangement and it doesn’t mean you have to be BFFs and share everything.
8. Be Flexible
There are a lot of things that can happen while you’re sharing a home, so be prepared to be flexible. The rent might be late or chores might be forgotten, but it happens. Your roommate has school, work, friends, family, hobbies, etc. that will keep him/her busy, so be understanding when things come up. Besides, you’ll want the same understanding when you forget to pay the power bill and you’re both left eating dinner by candlelight!
Perhaps the most important tip of all is to communicate. Don’t be afraid to talk to your roommate about your concerns and also be approachable to your roomie. You can even have weekly or monthly meetings to keep each other up-to-date and discuss things. Again, you don’t have to be buddy-buddy with your roommate, but keeping the lines of communication open will make both of your lives easier!
Being a good roommate can be difficult if all the effort comes from your end. In those cases, remember that the arrangement isn’t forever and that you can only try your best to be a good roommate. Have you had a roommate before? Do you have any tips on being a better roommate?