How to be a good roommate

How to be a good roommate

An open entrance door with a question mark on it
Sometimes the only way to afford the apartment you want is to get a roommate

Whether you are moving in with your best friend or with a complete stranger you can’t help but wonder how you two will get along. Hopefully, both of you will agree on one thing: you will do your best to make living together easier and stress-free.

At a certain stage of your life  you may find yourself looking for a roommate. If you are about to become a dorm resident, you are likely to share your living space with at least one person. Also, if due to some unforeseen circumstances you are facing financial struggles, sharing living costs with another person can ease the burden. Faced with the skyrocketing rentals, more and more people choose to take that economically conscious step and to compromise. Enormous rentals as well as high cost of living can make it even less feasible for you to live alone. So, for some people living with a roommate is the only way to afford a nice apartment in a desirable neighborhood.

On the other hand, you may assume that living with a friend is a dream come true. But, what you don’t know is that cohabitating with your bestie may be challenging for your friendship too. Interestingly enough, the fact that you’ve been through so much doesn’t necessarily mean that good friends make good roommates.

As long as you keep in mind the following considerations, sharing a living space with a roommate can actually work out. Cohabiting with another person isn’t always a smooth experience and hopefully our pointers will help you make the most of it.

Guidelines to creating a good relationship with a roommate

Sharing an apartment with a roommate can be considered as a fusion of two different backgrounds, mindsets and habits. Confronting two different natures may result either in a fair and amicable collaboration or in a horrible experience. You probably have very clear idea of how you expect your roommate to behave. But, are you willing to cooperate too? Is there anything you can do to avoid headaches and unpleasant situations? How can you contribute to a harmonious relationship between you and your roommate?

A black, female silhouette arguing with the male roommate
A set of ground rules may create a good foundation for an amicable relationship with a roommate

– Set some ground rules. As soon as you move in together discuss about how to make comfortable and stress-free living arrangements. Whether you already know each other or not, talk about your habits, expectations and responsibilities. Almost everything is negotiable, so you can be sure that an open communication will keep tension and stress at bay. As long as you are upfront and address the difficulties when they appear, you will have a solid foundation for a harmonious household.

– Learn how to be alone together. You can sit in the same room without interacting with each other. It’s important to have both independent and mutual activities and to stick to the predefined schedules.

– Mind your own business and respect your roommate’s private space. Accept that we are all individuals with our particular habits and needs.

Being a good roommate also means…

– Don’t expect your roommate to read your mind. Chances are your housemate won’t be able to predict your reactions and mood swings. He/she may not be aware of what’s bothering you unless you talk the issue through. Even your friend may fail to notice signs of your emotional state, let alone the person you don’t even know.

– Share things generously and socialize. You don’t have to act like your roommate is your best friend, but who knows, he/she may become one eventually. It’s good to remember that you are not obliged to spend all the time together.

– Fight only when necessary. In order to upkeep a pleasant atmosphere don’t make a fuss about everything you think your roommate did wrong. The sooner you understand that certain situations are not worth the argument, the more peaceful your cohabitation will be. Rather than starting a fight immediately, you should try to work out an efficient solution.

A person covered with a blue blanket laying on the sofa
Try to work out potential issues and misunderstandings with your roommate as soon as they appear

– Mind your reactions. After all, how you are going to react to your roommate’s behavior is entirely up to you. That being said, you’ll come to realize that a little self-control can go a long way toward creating a fair and friendly relationship with your housemate. While you can easily let it go sometimes, it shouldn’t become a routine, especially if certain behavior pattern has negative effects on you.

– Don’t let your roommate abuse your over-tolerance. As it turns out, instead of addressing the issue immediately, people tend to procrastinate and wait until they can’t take it any more. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to sort the problem out. Hopefully in time you will figure out the best way to reach out to your roommate efficiently.

How to spot a potentially bad roommate

Just to summarize, people seem to choose to move in with a roommate in order to:

  • afford a cozier appartment
  • get a well-situated place
  • save money

It’s not always easy to figure out whether you and your prospective roommate will be a good match. Ideally, your roommate will be someone you already know, but chances are that you may be sharing your living space with a complete stranger.

While your movers can guide you through the moving process efficiently, this particular task is up to you. As it turns out, if you are moving to a new state, this task can get even more difficult.

Therefore, take advantage of social media to announce that you are looking for a roommate. Hopefully you will have enough time to better assess your potential roommates. While it may not guarantee a successful cohabitation, an in-depth assessment of interesting candidates may reduce the chance of ending up with an awkward or troublesome person. Also, when posting on social media, make sure to state the type of roommate you are looking for.

By asking questions about their employment, previous roommate experience and personal attitudes you may realize whether they are capable of paying their part of bills and rent. It’s always a good idea to check the references from previous landlords and roommates, as well as credit and criminal reports.

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