Having a roommate is a love-hate relationship.
It’s a rare relationship where this person will see you at your crankiest, worried, and sleep-deprived self as well as your giddy, energetic, and relaxed self. Your roommate(s) will likely be who you’ll spend the most time with day-by-day. They can make life significantly happier and easier or make life difficult and stressful.
Now, before your move in with just anybody, it’s important to get to know them. Even if they are a family member or friend of yours, there are still some questions to be asked related to living conditions.
For instance, what are the guidelines around guests spending the night? How about paying for rent and utilities? Pets? Who’s going to do what chores? Or, what about routines?
Knowing the answers to some of these questions ahead of time can alleviate conflict down the road.
While communication is key, there are other areas that can mitigate conflict between you and your roommate(s).
What’s Yours vs. What’s Ours
In common spaces like the living room and kitchen should be items that are agreed upon to be shared. Things that you want for yourself, keep in your room, or near your bed. This signifies that these things, packages, books, mail, etc. are yours only.
This tip allows everyone their privacy, which keeping the rest of the space organized.
Another problem that roommates have is assuming that it’s okay, before asking.
Although this ties in with communication, it something we want to emphasize. If something hasn’t been talked about, then it’s probably a good idea to wait and ask before taking. Examples of this that come to mind are eating each other’s leftovers in the fridge or using their shampoo, etc.
This might be common sense, but you’d be surprise how often conflict is started over the simplest of things.
• One being too loud when the other is trying to sleep
• Splitting the bills
• Battles between opening the windows vs turning on the air
• Unexpected guests
Fortunately, most common roommate problems can be solved with honesty and communication. You’d be surprised how a simple conversation can fix so much.
When handling conflict, don’t cave into what your roommate wants. You have a voice too you know. Listen to both sides and be open to making compromises. It’s better to face the issue than to ignore it.
Living with a roommate isn’t going to be perfect. Living comfortably is always going to require that you choose your battles and brush things off when you can. If it ever gets to a point where you have to walk on, it’s totally okay to look for a different situation.
Life is too short to deal with negativity more than you have to.