Being a good roommate isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. You’d think as long as you’re nice and cool to be around everyone would love living with you. Nope. It’s way more complicated. You’ve got to think about how different we’ve all been raised and the different opinions on acceptable ways to live. Without further ado let’s get straight to the point and discuss how to make sure you find that the balance between being sloppy and a Sheldon.
Discuss Cleaning Expectations It’s important to know your roommates’ idea of what is acceptable. Some people wash dishes immediately after a meal while others wait until the sink is full. Some people think it’s okay to remove a trash bag and leave it until the next time they go outside while others think this is unsanitary and it needs to be taken out immediately. Before you move in sit down and talk about how you were raised and your cleaning habits. Come to a mutual understanding of how the two of you will work together to take care of the place. Maybe you clean individually as you go or wait and clean as a team. Just make sure both of you have an idea of what to expect out of the other as far as cleanliness.
Discuss Visitor Expectations The size of your living space and whether your roommate is a light sleeper will have a great impact on visitors. I once lived in a 1300sqft apartment with 3 other girls all on one level with our bedrooms connecting to the living room so parties during the week were a little unacceptable, however, when I graduated college I lived in a 2000sqft, 3 story condo with two other roommates and someone could throw a party in the lower level and no one would ever know it til you got up the next morning and the trash can was littered with crushed Bud Light cans. It is also smart to discuss the frequency of visitors (don’t end up having a live in significant other not contributing to the bills), safety concerns of strangers in the apartment (I once had a roommate invite a random guy from the liquor store to a party which was not cool) and along with safety concerns address who is allowed to be in the apartment by themselves or have a key. It’s a cruel world we live in. I’ve had a friend whose had checks stolen from her best friend since childhood so be very careful who you give access to your home without supervision.
Open Lines of Communication Don’t let things that bother you stay bottled up because this will lead to an emotional explosion. On the opposite end if your roommate discusses concerns with you without raising their voice or using curse words make a point to hear them out. If you truly feel they’re in the wrong refer to the expectations you discussed prior to moving in. Never ever ever no matter how mad or annoyed you are start cursing and yelling. Maintain some class. Explain how you feel and why you feel what you feel and what can change so that you don’t feel that way. Once you share your side give the other person a chance to speak. You can’t control how they react but if they curse and yell just let them get it out of their system and brush it off. You did what you could to improve the situation. If you can’t come to an agreement I would begin to look to for ways to have someone else take over your lease.
Don’t leave notes or send texts when you’re upset Written communication is hard to interpret. SOMETIMES CAPS MEANS I’M ANGRY but SOMETIMES CAPS MEANS I’M EXCITED it’s kind of ridiculous how easy it is to get it twisted. Some people are also sensitive and need to see your face and hear your voice to gauge the scale of the issue. What you may think is a small request may come off as super bitchy to the other person especially if they are already having a bad day. So maybe you should just breath and invite your roommate out to dollar slice night at the local pizzeria so you can talk and joke at first then ease into what’s going on around the house.
Pay Your Part of the Bills On Time If you have a roommate it’s safe to assume neither one of you are making that great of money or else you’d probably have your own place so write your checks for bills on time. Stressing over money is the worst and without your check the other roommate may not have enough in their account to pay the bill. Don’t get slammed with an easily avoidable late fee. Also, if the bills are in your name let your roommates know the amount due as soon as you get the bill so they can plan accordingly. People get busy and if you wait til the day before to tell them their half of the electric bill was 80 bucks you may put them in a bind.
Those are five items to get you started on the path to being a good roommate. What would you add to the list? You never know I may end up being a roommate again one day and I’d love to know what other advice you have to offer in the comments 😀