Even the best of friends can have trouble being roommates. Living together often times reveal a person’s idiosyncrasies the other may not like, sometimes tearing friendships apart. There are several things to consider before selecting a roommate; but just remember there is no “perfect” roommate, problems may still arise even with the most careful selection. Below are the three biggest points of contention between roommates who share a living space and how to best address them.
It’s good to set ground rules when it comes to the people invited into your apartment…and at what times. Inform each other of your schedules, so you are aware of the person’s needs at that moment. Your roommate may need quiet time to study for a big exam, or could just be chilling and totally fine with you inviting friends over to hang out. Also, give your roomie a heads up before people come over – especially if you’re hosting more than a couple of friends. Throwing a small get-together at the apartment? It’s courtesy to get your roommate’s blessing first (and extend the invite, obviously).
If you and the roommate have a significant other, discuss how often and how long it’s acceptable for that person to stay over. No one should overstay their welcome, unless they want to contribute to the rent!
Even if you don’t consider yourself messy, you’re still responsible for general cleaning tasks like cleaning the floors and bathrooms. So be sure to take turns and agree on how often these chores need to be done.
Personal messes, like a sink of dirty dishes, should be taken care of immediately. No one enjoys washing dishes, but dirty cups and plates can easily harbor bacteria or attract pests.
Sharing (Food and Other Responsibilities)
Maybe the milk keeps disappearing or you’ve been the only one restocking the toilet paper in the shared bathroom? It’s easy for someone to lose track of their household obligations, like who’s buying what and how many times a week. Chances are your roommate just isn’t aware of how much they’re lacking in responsibilities. Sit down with them and tell them you’d like for some extra assistance. Suggest keeping a tally chart on the refrigerator so you know whose turn it is to do/buy what.
If you’re not into the whole sharing thing at all, be direct with your roomie and talk specifics about what is or isn’t off-limits.
Most of the time, conflicts arise between roommates when each person creates expectations they want the other person to adhere to. The simplest way to get on the same page as another is to talk about what matters most to you, before it becomes a significant problem. Addressing issues right away, in a calm and respectable tone of voice, builds honesty and trust in the relationship – something that both of you can appreciate.
Keep in mind that if the roommate situation isn’t working, you can always move out. It may cost more, but you can’t put a price on safety and your overall well-being.
PS. Do you have any advice for others dealing with a roommate? Share below!