As we transition from our parent’s house to our own living space that often requires roommates in order for it to be affordable. In such cases, after living almost 20 years with one set of rules all of a sudden the game has changed and you are playing with a whole new set of rules.
Get to Know Each Other
First, and most important, it’s key to get to know your roommates. This includes everything from where they are from to what they like and their pet peeves. Just as much as you want them to be a good room mate to you, you want to be a good roommate to them.
How do you do this? Spend some quality time together on your first few weeks together. Go out and have some fun, get to know each other in a variety of settings, and eventually start setting some ground rules.
In any living situation there are spoken (and unspoken) ground rules. It’s often easiest to lay out the rules early on so everyone is clear what is expected of each other. Who does what chores and what activities are acceptable and unacceptable.
For example, what are the rules surrounding guests? What about food-sharing? Will everyone have their own food space or will food be shared among everyone? How will bills be paid, such as electricity, rent, etc… Who will do the dishes and who takes out the garbage? All great discussions to have early on to avoid pent up frustration later.
Issues Will Arise
It’s important to accept that even the best laid plans (rules) will go awry from time to time. It’s often a great idea to set up a plan for how to handle disagreements to avoid them boiling over into big arguments?
For example, will you have weekly roommate meetings or will they be more ad hoc as issues arise? What’s the rules for the discussions (i.e. no name calling)? What if a resolution can’t be reached?
It Will Be Okay
Above all, know that it will be okay. Living with someone is one of the closest relationships you can have with someone. There is bound to be disagreements – this is only natural. Don’t feel like you’ve failed roommate living 101 if you seem to keep having riffs with your roomie. It will happen. And you will grow and learn from them. You will become a better roommate to this roommate and those down the line. It will be okay! 😊
What’s your Experience with a Roommate?
Have you lived with roommates? What has been your experience? How did you handle riffs within the close living quarters?