There’s no question about it – living with roommates comes with a unique set of challenges.
Choosing what to watch on TV, deciding who should take out the trash…the littlest things can make it tough sharing an apartment.
But there are a few easy ways to make the relationship work.
Need some advice? Keep reading for five tips to help you get along better with your roommates.
#1 Lay Down a Few Basic Rules
Whether your roomies are your best friends or complete strangers, it’s always best to start the partnership with a few basic rules.
You should decide on a time that everyone has to settle down and keep the noise to a minimum. In most cases, this will probably be at night around bedtime. But depending on your schedules, it might be some other point in the day.
Establishing quiet hours from the get-go can help to prevent arguments that might arise otherwise.
Rules About Guests
Establish some ground rules about having friends over or letting people stay the night. The last thing you want is to end up with an unexpected guest who ends up sleeping on your couch for weeks at a time.
To prevent this, you should all agree on some guest rules. Whether it’s a “Guests only on weekends,” rule or “No one sleeps on the couch unless they’re visiting from out of town,” it’s helpful to come to an agreement early on.
Sharing a bathroom with roommates can be awful, especially if there’s only one.
To avoid any tension, make some clear-cut bathroom rules as soon as you move in together. These can be simple things like working out the shower schedule and agreeing that whoever uses the last sheet of toilet paper puts on a new roll.
They’re little things that are easy to address – you just have to tackle them head-on!
#2 Communicate (and Compromise)
You can’t expect your roommates to read your mind or predict your comings and goings. Make each other aware of your schedules for work, school, and sleep. By being open and honest about your lifestyle, you’ll have better communication.
When it comes to having good communication, there’s one main rule:
Never, ever bottle things up.
If a problem arises, address it immediately and respectfully. The longer you wait to address an issue, the worse it’ll become.
You must also be willing to compromise. When you’re sharing a space, you simply can’t have things your way all the time. A little give and take is key to any successful relationship, whether it be with a spouse, a business partner, or a roommate!
#3 Decide What Food to Share
The kitchen is one of the main common areas you’ll need to share – and that includes the pantry and fridge. Discuss how you’re going to shop for and pay for groceries.
In some apartments, everyone shares the food expenses. In others, everyone pays for their own stuff.
If the plan is to share, make sure you actually share! That means not drinking all the coffee or eating the entire bag of chips.
If one person doesn’t want to share, don’t. It’s usually easier if each person has their own stash of food and cooks for themselves.
On the other hand, if your roommates are your close friends and you like to cook and have meals together, do so! Pooling your grocery money together and cooking for each other can actually be very cost-efficient.
#4 Respect Each Other’s Personal Space
Whether you have your own bedroom or share one with someone else, it’s crucial that you respect each other’s personal space.
With separate bedrooms, make a rule that you won’t enter your roommate’s room when they’re not home. Obviously, you shouldn’t let your guests go in their either.
Respecting each other’s personal space includes respecting each other’s property. Don’t borrow things without asking, unless you’ve had a conversation beforehand.
And don’t assume that because you were allowed to borrow something once, you’re entitled to borrow it all the time. If it’s something you use regularly, it might be time to buy one for yourself!
Everyone needs space, but some people like their alone time much more than others. Be respectful of each other’s privacy.
Even if you’re best friends, everyone needs a bit of solitude now and then. If it seems like your roommate is an introvert wants to be left alone for some quiet time, let them have it!
#5 Share the Responsibilities
It’s not fair for one roommate to do all the cleaning. Everyone should clean up after themselves.
As for the heavy, weekly chores, share these among roommates, or create a schedule where you rotate the responsibilities.
One week, one person takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom while the other dusts and vacuums. The next week you switch and do the opposite chores. Hang a calendar on the refrigerator, so there’s no confusion about who’s going to do what.
The more roommates you have, the more you can divvy up the responsibilities.
You need to share the responsibility of bills as well. No matter how many people you live with, it’s always easiest to divide the bills evenly. You all use the heat, air, electricity, Wi-Fi, and water, so it’s best to make everyone pay the same amount.
Trying to determine who spends more time in the shower or who uses more gas for cooking is a surefire way to get frustrated.
Living in close quarters with other people can be a challenge – but these tips will certainly make it easier.
You don’t need to draft a 50-page contract of every rule and regulation for your apartment, but you do need to lay down a few basic ground rules. Communicate about your schedules, talk through any issues that arise, and be ready to compromise to make the relationship work.
Decide what food to share. Respect each other’s privacy and personal space. Divvy up the chores, and make sure that everyone chips in for bills.
As long as you follow this guide and establish the ground rules from day one, you should be able to maintain an amicable relationship with your roomies.