Tips On Living With Roommates

At some point in your life, if you choose to try apartment sharing, you will most likely live with another person as a roommate. If you are like most young professionals out there, you will have to search for roommate(s) to save money. Whether they are your friends or some strangers you met on the internet, there will be certain expectations that everyone has when living with other people. As living with others reveals a lot about ourselves, there will be some things we need to keep an eye on in order to not discomfort others; while the failure to do so might result in an exhausting tension between you and your roommate. Here are some tips on living with roommates, guaranteeing you to a positive coliving experience!  

1. Draft a Roommates’ Agreement 

draft living with roommates

The roommate agreement should be discussed before you officially move in and signed by all parties involved. It should state some of the rules that everyone agrees on. It sets a clear expectation and saves you many headaches later on. The discussion should be on the topic of communal areas, how the significant others can spend the night and other areas that might need to be talked over. It is better to explicitly agree beforehand than just assume everyone has the same idea or viewpoint on a topic/rule. Besides, it is also recommended if you can tell each other about things that are off-limits or should not be done in the apartment. It is better than waiting for someone to cross the line and trigger a fight.

The agreement will not be effective without some sort of consequences being involved. In an ideal world, people follow the rules and do their parts, sadly, it will not always be so. Not only would it be annoying if people ignore the agreement, but it is also disrespectful. A solution is to set a fine system or other consequences when an agreement has been violated. It could be a monetary compensation (like a swearing jar or some sort) or other penalties. 

2. Discuss Communal Items (foods, cleaning agents, etc)

communal items for roommates

It is important to know which items are personal and which are not. If people have different expectations about what should be considered communal, it is best to discuss them openly. If you do agree to terms of communal items, the first thing you should do is to make a shared household items budget. Discuss what kind of items you should share. Normally, it would be things like toiletries and groceries. Then, split up the shares. You do not want anyone taking too much and leaving the others with nothing. They might feel like they have been taken advantage of. After you establish the budget, hopefully, no one would see their snacks missing from the cupboard. For some people, missing items might not seem like a big deal. However, it could be evolved into a pesky habit and might lead to an argument in the future.  

3. Foster a Good Relationship Early On

roommates in co-living

For some people meeting a new person can be challenging, even more so if they have to live together and get along. You could bite the bullet and be the one initiating a conversation first: ask about their life, about their day, why did they move into the city, etc. The faster you can establish a good relationship with your roommate(s), the better. You could do this before officially moving in, on the weekends or in your free time.

It is perfectly fine to ask about their habits and quirks to find out what kind of idiosyncrasies you would have to deal with and see if theirs are compatible with yours. Even if they are your friends (or even best friends) and you feel like you already know them well, you should still have this discussion because it is entirely different to know someone and to live with them.  

Remember, if from the start you are aloof or seem uninterested, so will your roommate. Then soon enough both of you cannot have an open discussion and end up having a passive-aggressive relationship. 

4. Observe Quiet Hours

quiet hours with roommates

There is nothing we can do about other people’s habits. It’s hard to know who likes to sing in the shower early in the morning or snore loudly in the middle of the night. From early on, it is important to discuss how to manage these habits in a close living quarter. Nothing is more annoying than having to listen to your roommate’s phone conversation when you are drifting off to sleep. On the other hand, you could not ask them to stop as it is their home too. So it is better to set some ground rules about noise from the start, make compromises on your habits, and respect others’ quiet hours.   

An alternative is to purchase a white-noise machine that can drown the sounds your roommate makes. The machine will provide you a calming sound of waves or pouring rain, so you can go back to your activities without being distracted. It is a peaceful and good way to deal with unwanted noises if you are the non-confrontational type. 

5. Make a Chore Chart

roommates doing chores

The chore chart might not work for everyone. But it is a good reminder of who’s turn it is to take out the trash or wash the dishes, especially for those who tend to forget. Having a physical chart to map out household chores will give everyone a good reason to never forget their part in taking out the trash, cleaning the windows, mopping the floor, etc. It is also a good way to make sure each everyone has an equal workload put into making your home clean and comfortable. 

There are a lot of websites that have some chore chart designs. You could go to Pinterest or Instagram which offers readily made chore charts, or even make your own in Canva. It is also a good idea to use tools like Google docs or Google Calendars to manage the chores.

At first, having roommates is a challenging experience. After all, no one likes strangers in their home-invading their personal space. However as time passes by, you might find support, companionship, and camaraderie in them which you would not want to give up. This is why it is important to know how to effectively manage roommates’ relationships. We hope these tips on living with roommates will help you to navigate this new journey with them!  

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