by MARNÉ AMOGUIS
If you shared your room with siblings as a child, living with a roommate might be easy for you. After all, you’re already used to sharing your living space. However, living with a roommate can be difficult if you’ve never had to share your room. Everyone is different, and even if your roommate is your best friend, there are bound to be disagreements about the way you treat your home. Living with a roommate might take some getting used to, but you can make it easier on both of you and maintain a healthy relationship with your roommate by following these tips.
1. Understand the Type of Roommate You Are
People describe their roommates in many ways, calling them messy, crazy, emotional, and even annoying. It’s important to know yourself to try and determine what type of roommate you are. You can always ask your roommate or family members if you’re unsure. Learning if you’re clean or messy can help you figure out how your unique personality can fit with your roommate’s, and you can have a better relationship.
2. Consider Personal Lives
You and your roommate each have personal lives. You might have tons of friends, a boyfriend or girlfriend, and family that loves to visit. These relationships all dictate how much you and your guests may be in your home at a given time.
Your personal life can dictate how easy it is to live with someone else and how they feel about living with you. If you’re always inviting people over or your boyfriend likes to hang out in the kitchen with only a towel on, you and your roommate are bound to have some problems. After all, someone who enjoys spending quiet time at home won’t enjoy seeing your entire family sitting on the couch after a long day of work.
If you or your roommate have significant others, it’s crucial to establish boundaries. For example, your roommate might not be okay with your partner coming over every day; they may prefer that when your boyfriend or girlfriend is there that you two spend time together in your room so they can use the common area. Another thing to consider is if you have kids, you will want to ensure your roommate will be able to help out if needed, or you may have to look into hiring a safe nanny.
You should also be respectful of your roommate’s sleep schedule. If your roommate is sleeping, it doesn’t make sense to have many people over that might be loud. You should talk to your roommate before having more than one person over, especially late at night, to avoid potential arguments.
3. Be Flexible
Roommates must get used to sharing their things, especially food and chores. If you don’t want your roommate eating your food, it might be difficult to stop them if you’re not home, but you can label the food. You can also go grocery shopping together and split the cost in half, allowing both of you to eat whatever you want from the fridge or pantry.
You might have to make a chore chart to ensure you and your roommate are actually doing them.
Of course, some people can cross the line when it comes to sharing. However, addressing what the two of you are willing to share with one another can prevent problems and establish boundaries. For example, you can tell your roommate that you don’t like people going into your bedroom or wearing your clothes to prevent them from borrowing a jacket or sweater when they can’t find theirs.
4. Stop Problems Immediately
If you and your roommate are having any sort of problem, it’s best to nip it in the bud. You should never wait until the problem becomes a complex and miserable living situation. If your roommate is doing something that irritates you, you should try to communicate the issue with them. For example, if your roommate has a messy pet, it’s best to tell them if you don’t feel like they’re keeping up with their chores. Addressing things immediately can prevent you from becoming frustrated, especially if something is just a simple misunderstanding. For example, you may find out that your roommate didn’t vacuum because they were sick.
Remember, your roommate might not be aware there is a problem. If you don’t tell them, you don’t allow them to fix it.
5. Be Quiet
Not every roommate needs to be quiet all the time, but it’s best to be quiet when your roommate asks for it. For example, some people like to meditate at night or in the morning. Instead of clanging dishes around as soon as you wake up to make coffee, consider waiting until your roommate’s meditation is over so they can wake up peacefully. Additionally, if they tell you they have an important meeting, exam, or day the next day, always be respectful of their sleep. Instead of listening to loud music or keeping the television volumes up, try to remain as quiet as possible to get the sleep they need.
You should also be quiet, so you and your roommate won’t get in trouble with your landlord. Remember, you are tenants, and breaking your lease by causing disturbances night after night can leave you and your roommate in a tough spot with the property owner.
6. Always Lock Your Door
No matter where you’re going, even if it’s to grab something from your car, always lock your door. You never want to come back to your home to find that something has been stolen while away, so locking the doors can keep everyone’s property safe.
7. Don’t Expect To Be Best Friends
If you’re rooming with someone you don’t already know, don’t expect to be best friends. You are both adults with your own personal lives. However, you should aim to be friendly with your roommate to prevent tension or awkwardness at home.
8. Hang Out
While you might not be best friends with your roommate, you’re going to spend a lot of time in their vicinity, so it’s best to get to know them. Having a personal relationship with your roommate can help you understand each other better and form a mutual understanding and respect.
If you find that you’d like your roommate to be your friend, that’s even better, allowing you two to spend a staycation or do chores together. Maybe even start a podcast together. Hanging out allows you to have a support system at home while also getting rid of any awkwardness of meeting and getting to know the person you’re living with.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.