Unless you have enough money for a studio or single room apartment, chances are you'll live with a roommate when you move out of your parents' home. You expect your new place means somewhere to independently live, chill, and adjust to sharing a home with a complete stranger or friend. While movies and TV make the scenario sound fun, such as meeting your future best friend and sharing a room in college, having to split a living space with someone you're now contractually matched with can be unstable.
I've heard so many horror stories about living with a roommate. Luckily, I've had cool roommates and future friends to live with. If you're rooming with a friend and a genuine person, count your blessings because things can get heated. To kick off your college journey, I'm giving out advice on how to get along with your roommate and avoid trouble.
1. Text or DM Each OtherGiphy
If you don't have each other's phone numbers already, do it now. This will come in handy when you lock yourself out your apartment or room, forget something at home, need someone to watch your pet, or just about any favor. Whether you're living with one or more people, you need to have a way of communication. This is the perfect time to start a group chat if you haven't.
2. Communicate and Don't Lie
It can stressful to live with someone you haven't known that long, but you can't avoid this person forever. Maybe you're an introvert and don't know how to start talking to them without being uncomfortable. Don't feel pressured to hide anything or pretend to be okay with an issue. It's your place too and you need to take care your worries. There's no guarantee this won't lead to future fights. But try to get along and find middle ground. It'll make arguments far less frustrating.
3. Find Out What They Like
You'll be surprised what you can bond over together! Talk about your favorite music, TV shows, movies, classes, celebrities, or games. For my case, it was discovering a shared love of Once Upon a Time and horror movies. Even if you seem like polar opposites, it doesn't hurt to find something you both like. After all, you don't make friends by staying in your room.
4. Rules of Cleaningmedia.giphy.com
Whether you're a neat freak, a slob, an over-worker, or somewhere in between, your living space is going to get messy. Who's going to clean? I have friends who live in filth but will get furious when their roommates won't pick up their share or do the dishes. You're all responsible. Just warn your roommate about what kind of clean or messy person you are. Will you do dishes once a week or more? Cook a lot? Take out the trash? Leave clothes around the house? And if you can, keep yourself on a cleaning routine to avoid fights.
5. Don't "Borrow" ClothesGiphy
Guys and gals, don't borrow clothes without asking. Maybe you did it with your siblings and best friends but this is completely different. Any stranger taking and wearing your clothes is alarming. It's not just clothing either; people get protective over their possessions. Same rule applies with taking technology, food, gaming devices, and other belongings. Who knows? This might change once you're all friendlier, but it's best if you ask first.
6. Just Ask
I think the best rule is to just ask if something's on your mind. Your roommate might drink, smoke, or have other activities. Maybe they go clubbing a lot or invite tons of friends over. Or they might feel differently about how the apartment or room should be kept. Whatever it is, there's going to be pet peeves, the occasional fights, and things you should've talked about earlier. So don't feel pressured to ask. The worst moments with my past roommates were when they used all my dishes without asking or texted us that a complete stranger was subleasing her room the day of. Ask if you can borrow, how your roommate feels about something, or if there's something you can change.
7. Plan Things TogetherGiphy
Once you get all the awkwardness out, your new roommate can be an awesome person. Your next step? Have fun! You can make every day a movie night, game night, or an R&R day. Go to a party together, get to know their friends, go grocery shopping, or head downtown for a night at the club. There's potential to find a true friend in the person next door. And if things start off rocky, keep trying.
Every fall semester means new students, new leases, and new friends. Don't miss out on the chance to find a new friend because you don't put in the effort to compromise. And don't forget you have just as much of a responsibility to be a good, reasonable roommate. After hearing my friends' roommate horror stories, I have a few closing requests.
Don't be the person who sneaks boyfriends/girlfriends/strangers into your place. Don't divide your apartment or room into territory. Respect your roommate's right to disagree with something.
And finally, just be kind and respectful to one another.
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