The Ultimate Guide to Sharing an Apartment

Living with other people doesn’t have to involve much effort or to have the things you have in the fridge be used by the dwellers in your apartment without consent. So think about it this way, we only need to set the basic procedures to live together so that we don’t step on each other’s toes. Once that has been set, we have very simple and effective means to resolve issues and not unintentionally offend/be disruptive to others in the first place.

Read also: First-time Flatsharing: Things to Expect
What Living with Roommates Has Taught Me

Here are the ultimate guide you have to learn if you are flatsharing. Let’s begin.

1. Set the Ground Rules

Just like any society has its own rules, so must your shared apartment. Very important rules to include when living with a roommate that I use are as follows:

  • Bathroom/Toilet rules
  • Fridge/Kitchen rules
  • Sleeping rules

Bathroom rules are the most important set of rules to make sure that awkward moments can be avoided. An indicator of when it’s ok or not ok to enter the bathroom (like assuming the bathroom is occupied if the door is closed and not to attempt entry) and understanding whose toothbrush is placed where are but two examples of understanding each other’s limits. Ask your roommates for information about your rules too and do reach an agreement, if possible. If it isn’t possible then at least they know where you stand on things.

The same kind of thinking can be approached with fridge and sleeping rules, and all good ground rules are built upon consensus, so try to reach an agreement. Draft a roommate agreement contract to seal the deal. After all, there is nothing you can do to enforce upon your roommate when they take your milk or loudly play an obnoxious online mobile game at 3 in the morning.

Read also: Questions For Potential Roommates
Why Minimalism Makes Coliving Easier

green door with heart sharing apartment
The heart on the door is not a sign saying you can come in whenever you want.

2. Stand Up for Yourself

Remember when I said there was no way to enforce the rules? Well, that is still true, but it doesn’t mean you have to take breaches to the rules lying down. Tell off your roommates when they violate the roommate agreement and if you didn’t agree on things tell them off anyways. Your boundaries should be respected for the good of the people living in the apartment.

stand up for yourself apartment sharing tips
Don’t be afraid to stand up to keep what your limits are.

Even if you are outnumbered in supporters (if in an apartment with more than two people), don’t back down if it is something you can’t tolerate. Weakness in the face of wrongful demands would only lead to more unreasonable and less tolerable demands in the future. Draw a line in the sand.

3. Be Understanding

Now, that previous point sounds a bit hostile (and it is), so you should also compound that point with this one: be understanding of your roommates. Depending on where they are from and what social backgrounds, anyone’s way of life may be substantially different to yours. You’re trying to live together so that both of you may be comfortable and you should do so understanding what makes you both comfortable.

conversation be understanding apartment sharing tips
You should get to know him/her and vice versa.

Understanding what they want in general is the key to find what the solution is to the problems of living together. I am not telling you to let them break through your limits but finding compromises in other areas can lead to your roommate being understanding of you as well. 

4. Find Peace, not Victory

Arguments are bound to happen, agreement or not, between multiple people living under the same roof. When this happens, it is important to remember that when you win an argument, you are unlikely to have your roommate accept that victory. This is not to say that you cannot bring up points in your support and just lay down in the face of an angry roommate, but rather to argue so that you can both understand how this problem may be solved. 

For example, you may disagree over the time your roommate chooses to play very loud music. You can end it by doing nothing (I do not recommend), being angry and in their face about it (or retaliating with an equally annoying habit) or coming to an understanding over what times he/she should play. The last one is more likely to have a longer-lasting result.

5. Different Personalities, Different Plans

Now over the course of this article, I am sure that you’ve read certain recommendations that you may find either objectionable or unable to bring yourself to do. I will address the few I foresee below but do know that a good plan for sharing an apartment is a plan for sharing an apartment that works. Don’t follow the recommendations to the letter if it does not follow your intent or is hampered by circumstances.

A. Introversion

If you are an introvert, approaching your roommate for a discussion on ground rules may be difficult, let alone implementing the more confrontational aspects of this article. If so, lead by example when possible and follow the golden rule until the roommate does something that you wouldn’t want them to do. At this point, it is important to say something about it, it doesn’t have to be confrontational but do tell the other party.

B. Overtly Confrontational Roommates

In this article, though I advocate doing confrontational things, it must always be done with reaching an agreement in mind. Having a roommate that demands everything following his/her way makes this way of thought fall apart. In this case,  I do advocate going through multiple confrontations and tiring your roommate with flagrant disregard until he/she agrees to reach an agreement in some way. If this is not possible due to circumstances and/or personality traits, then keep trying to find common ground so that you can begin discussions.

And there you have it, all the tricks, guiles and confrontational tactics to make your stay with a roommate as far away from communalism and collectivism as possible. This guide is made so that you can stay from each other’s way and live together in harmony, doing things together and other social aspects of living with roommates come naturally once you are comfortable living with each other. So don’t worry too much and have fun.

Read also: Renting An Apartment In Jakarta
5 Things to Know Before Choosing Co-Living

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