Roommates can make apartment life easier and more fun, but they can also be challenging! Studies show that relationships with roommates can have a significant impact on your life, making it important to iron out any issues you may have. Fortunately, there are some guidelines you can use to create a successful living situation for you and your roommates. With the right communication strategies, you can make living with roommates a benefit rather than an inconvenience.
Communicate Your Expectations
The most important foundation of any relationship is an understanding of each other’s expectations. It’s common for different people to expect different things from a roommate, and a discussion about lifestyles and schedules can be very helpful. Be open and honest about how you hope to live and what you expect from a roommate. Ideally, this conversation should occur before you move in together, but it’s never too late to let your roommate know what apartment living means to you.
Establish Clear Responsibilities
Being a good roommate means living up to those expectations and contributing to the daily maintenance of the home. Daily and weekly chores, parking agreements, rent payments, and other details should be clearly and immediately discussed so that there is no confusion or resentment. Creating a list or “chore board” can be a simple way to ensure that everyone understands their role and can clearly show when a task has been completed or needs to be addressed.
Maintain Open Lines of Communication
Even if you and your roommate have created the perfect plan for living together, things change and new problems arise. Don’t let issues and problems fester and grow into large resentments. Stay in touch with each other about how you feel about living together, and be open to changes and suggestions. A weekly meeting over takeout or pizza can be a fun and effective way to give each other a chance to discuss problems and solve them together.
Learn the Routine
Just because you live together doesn’t mean you have the same schedule! You and your roommates are likely to have very different routines revolving around work, socializing, and relaxation. Share your schedule with your roommates and learn how their schedule interacts with your own. It is vital that roommates understand how their space will be shared, especially by friends and strangers. Consider keeping a calendar that your roommates can write down events to avoid surprises or conflicts.
Talk Honestly About Deal Breakers
If you’re allergic to cats, your roommates are going to have to understand that they cannot adopt a homeless kitten. Those issues that are completely non-negotiable must be addressed early and respectfully by both parties. What you consider to be normal may be something your roommate simply cannot tolerate, and the same could be true in reverse. If there is anything you simply cannot accept in a roommate, it is imperative that you establish those boundaries honestly before you sign a lease together.
You may have noticed a pattern – when it comes to roommates, it’s important to communicate clearly, openly, and honestly in every situation! Good communication allows you to avoid pitfalls and navigate sticky situations when they occur. A little discussion can help make life for you and your roommate more ideal and allow you to get the most out of apartment living!