Having a roommate may seem like a great idea. Whether you’re moving in with a friend or a complete stranger, there’s a comfort in knowing you have a buddy in the house with you every night. There are also obvious financial perks for sharing rent and expenses. In fact, having a roommate is a smart idea for anyone looking to live away from home for the first time or who are moving to a new area and wants a friend to experience it with. However, this can also provide a series of issues, as you are two separate people with two different ways of living life. To avoid passive-aggressive comments and arguments over who left the dishes in the sink, take some of our advice on how to live harmoniously with your new roomie.
The first thing you should do when moving in with a new person is to set to ground rules. This can be anything from creating a chore chart, sharing your schedules with each other, or negotiating appropriate times to have houseguests. Discuss your expectations of one another before you get going so you know exactly what your duties are around the house. You may want to set “quiet hours” so you won’t worry about being woken up by a noisy party downstairs when you have work or class in the morning. You also want to work out financial responsibilities early on and make a budget together. How much are you paying, and who is sending in the payment each month for the bills? Make a plan that works for both of you and adjust things that don’t work as you go.
Of course, sharing is caring, but in a roommate relationship, sometimes it’s better to keep things separate. There are some things you can share, such as paper towels and garbage bags, that you may want to budget for together, but itemizing every single grocery bill or relying on an alternating schedule for purchasing necessities may turn into a passive-aggressive argument when one person falters. Buy your own shampoo, toothpaste, soap, and food to avoid an unnecessary fight down the line. Swear off using their products “just this one time” because you ran out due to poor planning – this can turn into a vicious cycle and they WILL eventually notice when their K-Cup supply starts dwindling.
Put Friendship First
Whether you’re BFFs with your roommate or complete strangers, remember that they are a person too. They don’t just want to talk about bills and responsibilities all the time. The key to a good roommate relationship is a balance. Take the time to bond, grab dinner, or watch a movie together once in a while. You may have separate lives and separate friends, but it’ll be easier to be kind (and forgiving) when you understand their personality, quirks, and interests and appreciate them as a person.
When you have an issue with your roomie, speak your mind in person. No passive-aggressive texts when you’re out of the house or post-its on the fridge. Your roommate will grow to resent you, and if they exhibit that behavior, you’ll grow to resent them too. Learning to openly communicate with your roommate in a respectful way will not only improve your relationship with them but train you on how to deal with difficult situations in your personal and professional life.
The key to any good relationship is a compromise. Even brothers and sisters who grew up in the same homes have different ways of living that may not be compatible. Whether you’re moving in with your best friend, romantic partner, or a complete stranger, it’s important to learn how to compromise on issues that are trivial, as well as stand your ground on things that are important to you. If not, you’ll find yourself looking up a home affordability calculator so you can move out as soon as possible.