In the past five years, I’ve had a number of different roommate situations, but only one of them was truly wonderful. The remaining ones drove me completely insane.
A roommate’s inconsiderate behavior can drive anyone crazy, but unfortunately, it’s not always their fault. Occasionally, life hands you a spoiled brat who has no concept of sharing, and you have to start teaching them at the age of seven.
So, for the sake of your sanity, I present the following, non-exhaustive list of ways in which you can be a good roommate:
How to be best roommate ever
It can be difficult to imagine sharing a dorm with another student if you’re used to having your own room or sharing with a sibling at home. Most dormitories are cramped, so it’s important that you and your roommate have a plan for sharing the room. You should sit down with your roommate soon after you’ve unpacked to discuss the specifics of your living arrangement. This way, you and your roommate can put the uncomfortable stuff behind you and rest easy knowing the ground rules. Your roommate agreement should cover important points like who is responsible for cleaning up after themselves, who gets to use the refrigerator, and who is allowed to have guests over.
It’s important to designate which areas of a shared house or apartment are communal and which are private. You and your roommate(s) need to work out the details of how you will split the cost of utilities, food, cleaning supplies, and anything else you’ll need to live together. To add to this, you need to assign who will be in charge of getting the supplies and groceries and when.
Be Considerate and Respectful
Know that your roommate may have a different schedule than you do when it comes to eating, showering, sleeping, and waking up. Don’t wake up your roommate by turning on the lights if you wake up in the middle of the night. In its place, you should use a lamp that won’t wake up your roommate, like a desk lamp. If you have a roommate who is a light sleeper, you should try to keep noise to a minimum. If you don’t want to wake up your roommate while studying or talking on the phone, you can always use the common areas. As an added precaution, if you don’t want to wake up your roommate, put on some headphones before turning on the TV or playing the stereo.
Having a good attitude and treating others with kindness and respect can go a long way, especially in a stressful environment like college.
Simplify Your Lives for the Both of You
Once you and your partner have agreed upon a set of ground rules, you can take additional steps to make life easier for both of you. One easy way to fix this is to simply decorate the area. Home life can be made more pleasant if you can find a few items that will make sharing space easier. Naturally, you shouldn’t buy them something you won’t use just to please them.
A Task Board
A roommate contract should include a cleaning schedule, but it may be difficult to enforce. A task whiteboard is useful for keeping everyone on the same page and can be kept in a central location such as the kitchen or living room. You can check off the chores as you complete them, and everyone will know who is responsible for what at any given time in terms of cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms.
You can also use this to arrange to meet with your roommates. Disagreements are bound to arise, no matter how big or small the group, so it’s important to be able to talk to one another about them.
Learn about them
The action of moving in with a new roommate is essential. Learn more about the roommates you will be living with. Before moving forward, see if there are any common interests or hobbies. Get to know your roommate because you will probably be spending a lot of time with them, even if you don’t end up becoming best friends.
Talk to others
Clear lines of communication are crucial when sharing living quarters with a new roommate. Even if you’re moving in with a friend, your roommate was probably picked at random. Share any relevant information about yourself with your roommate. Whenever there is a potential for an issue, it is essential for everyone involved to communicate. If there’s something bothering you, express that to them before it builds into a bigger argument.
Clean up after yourself
The sight of dirty dishes, overflowing trash cans, and a mountain of laundry on the floor is an eyesore in any home. It is understandable to put off cleaning up when you have a big test the following day, but don’t let the mess sit around for too long. It’s gross and can be annoying to your roommate. Developing healthy routines at a young age is essential for maintaining a tidy lifestyle. Put your dirty clothes in the hamper, not on the floor, before class begins. Accustom yourself to doing things like washing the dishes as you use them and taking out the trash on a weekly basis. It will be easier to maintain your cleaning routine throughout the year if you get into it now.
Keep your stuff on “your side.”
Each student typically has their own personal sleeping area, storage area (bed, dresser, desk, and closet), and common area (common area). Your furniture will probably be placed on one side of the room and your roommate’s on the other when you move in together. If you designate separate spaces for yourself and your roommates, it will be much easier to keep track of your belongings and protect your personal space.
Finish your laundry in one sitting
If you need to do laundry, don’t start it and then disappear for the day. It’s not fair to make your roommate wait around all day for you to return just so they don’t have to do their own laundry because you’re too considerate to just dump your wet stuff on the floor, but not considerate enough to finish it for them because that’s not their job.
Enjoy your time alone with some loud music or a marathon of your favorite show. Listen to music quietly or put on some headphones if your housemates are around. They would definitely let you know if they wanted to make watching Grey’s Anatomy marathons together a group activity.
Keep a group calendar of everyone’s schedules
No one enjoys being sex-isolated, and if you and your partner can’t find a place to escape for some privacy, your roommate probably can’t, too. Use the calendar to schedule gatherings when you will have the house to yourself, rather than bothering your roommates by asking them to leave.
Contribute to shared expenses
Items like dishwasher pods, paper towels, trash bags, and the requisite toilet paper fall under this category. Prevent the need to go out and buy more by filling these up. Avoid having the same person continually restock them. If fresh rolls of toilet paper mysteriously appear under the sink every time you run out, but then you find yourself with none one day, your roommate may be hinting that they are sick of buying it and that it’s your turn to do so. If you use the last of the toilet paper next to the toilet and there are more rolls available, please change it. Don’t be that jerk who takes up the entire board.
The refrigerator is like a more compact and chilly apartment with controlled humidity. The usual regulations are in effect. Remember that other people’s property and personal space must be respected. The buck stops with you. And remember to keep things tidy!
Takeout should be transferred to resealable containers (but keep in mind that Tupperware is not a tomb). Don’t forget to throw out any wontons that have been sitting in storage for more than a week. Be sure to have a Sharpie on hand to clearly mark the location of your hidden treasure.
What’s the big deal if you drink some of your roommate’s milk or sneak a beer every once in a while? Perhaps not, when put into perspective with everything else. However, this represents an unconscious form of passive aggression. Fridge antics always point to, or are indicative of, a deeper issue.
If you scream in space, no one will hear you. When you have roommates, your screams will be heard by everyone. Or talk. You could also rub your head if you like. This cannot be proven scientifically; it is simply common sense.
The opposite of being rude, silence is golden when quarters are tight.
Commonly misquoted saying: “Sharing is caring.”
Cute and genuine but twee. That is especially true of roommates. Although the couch “belongs” to you in a legal sense, you should probably let it go if there isn’t already enough furniture in your home. That sofa is now communal property.
The television, the table, and the remote all fall into this category. It’s a shared space, so you both benefit from and contribute to it.
You’ll find inner calm through shared experiences and activities eventually. Do we, in fact, have any right to our possessions? Maybe they’re just temporary additions to our lives? I wish you all the best.
Don’t Touch Their Crap Without Permission.
Maybe you come from a family where everyone pitches in, even if they don’t want to. however, you should not assume that your new roommate shares your enthusiasm. Clearing the air about what is and is not fair game up front helps everyone involved avoid awkward situations later.
Give Them Space.
Sometimes it’s too much being so close to other people all the time. Try to be considerate of your roommate’s needs for solitude in order to get stuff done or unwind. Don’t interrupt someone while they’re in the flow, and let them know if you ever need to concentrate or step away.
Be as chatty as possible
Conversation enthusiasts, this one is for you. The best way to overcome the challenges of getting to know a new roommate is to dive in headfirst.
It’s “bound to end in a conversation with your RA” if you follow The Irate Roommate’s straightforward three-step plan.
Bring up the subject of conversation while they should be paying close attention, such as in a class, a Zoom meeting, or their daily meditation.
After a few days of practice, you can go as far as to make an issue out of discussing the most banal details of your day. In no time at all, you’ll be probing people about their most mortifying childhood memories.
Expand your love life
Your roommate ought to care about your happiness, right? Don’t make your significant other wait and ask for permission before letting them spend the night; in fact, let them move in right away. Consider expanding this idea to include inviting friends or even a complete stranger who has no ties to the College.
My home is always open to guests. Whenever I start, my roommate immediately asks, “When are you going to stop?” so it’s clear she enjoys it, as Hywader put it.
If you want to show your roommate that you have friends and are sociable, host a party.
But don’t assume there aren’t any boundaries; generosity isn’t a guarantee of unlimited access. You probably don’t want your roommate to hold weekly movie nights in the living room if you bought the TV, forcing you to rearrange your viewing schedule. She needs to consider when you want to watch TV when planning her parties.
In a similar vein, if your roommate purchases a Keurig, you should wait for them to use it before you do, and you should always remember to refill the water reservoir. Put your roommate’s needs before your own. It’s not fair to expect others to clean up after you if you’d rather not do it yourself. To gain respect, one must first show respect.