Sharing a space with a roommate is challenging, you can either enjoy the experience and make a close friend, or you can live with a person with whom you don’t get along and are constantly fighting over the smallest issues.
You don’t need to become life-long friends with your room, but having a healthy relationship will reduce your stress levels and make the whole experience pleasant. You will most likely have some differences with your roomie but there are certain things you can do to improve your relationship.
1. Accept That Your Roommate Won’t Be Perfect
Your roomie probably won’t have your same interests, studying habits, sleep schedules, etc. Don’t put overly high expectations on your roommate. Instead, try your best to accept them for who they are and not who you want them to be.
Don’t try to change them or be disrespectful when they do something that you perceive as strange, as long as their actions are not impacting your well-being. When you are living with someone you don’t know well, maintaining a good relationship overrides one’s personal feelings about the other person’s behavior, as long as that behavior is relatively harmless.
2. Learn About Their Interests
Even if you don’t become lifelong friends it is important that you get along and have a friendship relationship. Learn about your roomie’s interests and hobbies. Find out what classes he goes to and get to know him better. If you find out that you share a common interest, invite him out to do something that you know you will both enjoy.
Spending some quality time together will help you to create a bond, but remember that “quality time” with a roommate is not the same as quality time with friends. If your roomie doesn’t feel like getting to know you better, respect that boundary.
3. Keep Common Areas Clean
Some common duties every roommate should do include cleaning the dishes once they are done with them, and taking the trash out frequently. keeping the fridge clean and free of expired items, wiping down the kitchen counter, cleaning the floors, vacuuming, etc.
If you are dealing with a messy roommate instead of pointing fingers and approaching the problem with anger, ask your roommate to help you out and create a chore list. You can put on some music and clean the space together.
4. Cope With Different Routines
Different sleep schedules can frequently become an issue if your routine diverges significantly from that of your roommate. Maybe your classes are earlier and you have a noisy alarm that plays around four times before you turn it off, which could disturb your roomie’s sleep and generate fights.
Treat your roommate the way you would want to be treated, set an alarm that is able to wake you up without creating too much noise, don’t turn on the lights, and try to be as quiet as possible while you are getting ready. Don’t play loud music at night, and if they do, ask them nicely to put their headphones on.
5. Don’t Force the Relationship
Respect your roommate’s privacy and give him some space. Be friendly and nice to your roommate but understand that you don’t have to be best friends. Don’t try to push your roomie on going out with you when they are not in the mood, and if they try to push you when you aren’t fond of them simply tell them nicely to give you space. Forcing a relationship will only create discomfort.
6. Communicate Clearly
Most issues with your roomie will happen due to a lack of communication, for example, you noticed that your roommate hasn’t cleaned the toilet, and instead of telling him you just keep quiet and let that anger and frustration stay with you, it will probably explode at any time and you roomie won’t have an idea of why you are mad, don’t expect your roomie to emphasize with you if you never speak up. Talk about what bothers you as soon as possible so you can find a solution.
It is also important to establish expectations from the beginning and talk about what you like and don’t like. For example, tell your roomie that everyone should wash their dishes after every use, discuss your schedule as well as study habits. Maybe you love to hear music while you study but it disturbs your roommate, then you will have to use headphones.
7. Be Patient and Flexible
Building a healthy relationship and getting to know each other will take some time so don’t try to rush it and don’t expect to have the perfect roomie in a few days. You will face different issues and challenges through your roommate journey but the most important thing is to be flexible, accept when you are doing wrong, and work to find a solution.
You should also be aware that you will most likely change during the time you live together and changes will come with new challenges but that is ok, allow some room to grow.
8. Create a Roommate Rules Agreement
It is important to set some ground rules, a roommate agreement is a legal document that states all the rules you should follow. Having this type of document will avoid conflict and ensure you both have a healthy and joyful relationship. It will also help you know to handle any problem that arises and will reduce the stress as well and uncertainty that comes with living with a stranger. Some items you should discuss on it are:
- Lay out the amount of rent each one has to pay and when the payment is due.
- Talk about the amount each one will pay on utility bills and to whom.
- Agree to clean up the mess after cooking.
- Create a cleaning-task list for each room and set a schedule.
- Discuss whether or not you will allow guests, and if so how many days a week can a guest stay overnight.
- Establish quiet hours.
- Talk about pets before they move in.
- Establish what you can and can’t share. Are you going to share food? If so, how will you handle costs? Do you have an expensive air fryer that you don’t want to share? Don’t just assume that you will share everything.
Having a roommate can either be a pleasant or terrible experience, but the tips mentioned should help you build a stronger relationship and have a better living situation.