Housing Guide: How to Be a Good Roommate

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Living with a roommate can be a source of worry and anxiety for college students. When people from different backgrounds and upbringings come together and spend a substantial amount of time together, each is accustomed to their own way of living, and friction can arise as a result. Sharing a small, new space with a random human can be intimidating. On the flipside, rooming with one of your closest friends could potentially cause tension to brew. Whatever the situation may be, being a good roommate is key to a successful semester in any home.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is the first step in being a good roommate. Establishing the rules will lay the foundation for a smooth sailing living experience. Sit down with your roommate(s) and talk about your expectations for the semester. Exchange school and work schedules so you know their general whereabouts in case of emergencies. Additionally, figure out household logistics: divide up the refrigerator shelves, cabinet space, and any other community area in the apartment. Drawing these literal lines will aid in having some sort of structure. This is the time express any specific questions or suggestions you have.

Respect Each Other

Maintaining mutual respect will make home life so easy. In an ideal world, you and your roommate(s) will become best friends, but that is not always the case. A good roommate respects their living partners’ room, dishes, food, supplies, car, and any other possession of theirs. This especially important if you expect the same kind of treatment. Respect is also applied when using community appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, microwave, and washer and dryer. Remember everyone, including you, is entitled to using each of these at whatever time they choose. Being a good roommate means cleaning up after yourself when you use any of these appliances. Leaving a dirty kitchen or living room helps no one and will only create conflict.

Communicate

Communication is vital in living with another person. Although setting boundaries starts everyone on the same page, problems can and will arise. When they do, it is crucial that you are well equipped with the appropriate way to address the issue. No matter how sticky the situation, keep in mind how you handle it will affect your home life well after it is resolved. To avoid making living together awkward, be honest with your roommate(s), but maintain respect. Let them know how a certain action of theirs makes you feel and work together to make the living environment better for each of you.

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