Having a roommate can be a lot of fun – liking having a sleepover every day! Having a roommate might also be like having a cat if they keep to themselves. Or it can be miserable if you don’t get along. To make living with a roommate work, you’ll need to be willing to agree to disagree on things and compromise. Here are ways to make living together easier.
Bond: If you aren’t friends already, get to know each other. Find common interests and ways to connect. Getting to know your roommate will make it easier to understand why they behave the way they do.
Plan: Determine how and when chores will be handled, what level of volume is acceptable, how often each person is comfortable with the other having guests over, how expenses will be split, if groceries will be shared, if there are any allergies to be mindful of, and if borrowing and sharing belongings or clothing is acceptable.
The ‘Roommate Agreement’ is a running joke from the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory, but Sheldon was on to something. It’s a great idea to have something in writing that lists rules you’re both agreeing to follow for the sake of the relationship and living arrangement. This agreement should be created before a problem arises.
Talk: Discuss problems calmly when they arise instead of building resentment. Don’t leave passive aggressive notes or talk behind their back because this behavior is counterproductive and will only make the situation worse and harder to resolve. Remember to listen to each other and respect the other’s feelings. If you’ve done something wrong, apologize and fix the behavior.
Distance: Spending all of your time with one person can be exhausting and appear clingy. Make other friends so you can give yourself and your roommate a break when needed and also so you have other people to study and hang out with.
Also – you don’t need to be best friends with your roommate! Maybe you don’t have much in common and you’re living together purely for the reason to save money. As long as you respect each other, the roommate situation can function like a business relationship.
Even if the living arrangement doesn’t work out and you don’t become or stay friends, think about it as a learning experience and try to make the next roommate relationship better!