Good roommate relationships don’t just happen without effort. Like every relationship in life, it takes work from all parties to create a healthy, happy living environment. A great co-living situation starts with knowing how to be a good roommate. It involves open communication, setting expectations, and commitment to working through any challenges or misunderstandings.
If you want to make the most of your experience with your roommates and turn them into lifelong friends, then here are a few tips to make that happen.
Have a Conversation ASAP
You want to get to know your new roommate, but it will take time. You can start by having an open, honest conversation that lays out the expectations and boundaries right away. This includes everything from establishing “quiet hours” to how to split up housekeeping chores and sharing how each of you feel about borrowing one another’s “stuff.”
One good way to create a clear understanding is to use a roommate contract that covers everything from when you can have friends over (and how many) to how to resolve disputes, rules for borrowing items from each other, and how to split costs on things like food and bills. If you need help, customize your own version of this roommate contract template to fit your needs.
Establish Bathroom Etiquette
Sharing a bathroom can be challenging in the best of situations, so start out with clear guidelines for what each one expects from the other — and stick to it. If one person is a slob and the other is a neat freak, certain ground rules need to be established right away. You need to discuss which items can be shared, which are off limits, and which expenses you agree to split.
You also need to address the issue of how much privacy each of you needs and how you’re going to split time in the bathroom. Look at your class schedules to work out a timetable that is good for both of you.
The final essential issue when it comes to a bathroom is keeping it clean. This goes for everything from rules for wiping down the sink and shower after it’s been used to how often to wash towels, washcloths, and bath mats and how you will share that chore.
Remember It’s Not Just About You
One way to be a good roommate is to try to look at every situation from your roommate’s point of view. This can help reduce conflict and create better understanding. Knowing how to peacefully share your space with someone else is a skill that comes in handy for the rest of your life.
As you look at ways to live in harmony in a space that feels like home, don’t forget to consider your furniture needs. CORT Furniture Rental’s student packages can help you set up cozy bedrooms, fun living areas, and comfy study spaces that are just right for your personal situation — without making a long-term commitment.