Roommate Etiquette 101

Roommates

Whether it’s a friend or a stranger having a roommate can be an amazing shared experience… but not one that comes without a little work.┬áBy simply taking a few steps you can ensure you and your roommate will always remain simpatico and get the most out of your living arrangement.

Step #1 Establish Guidelines From The Start

Avoid unnecessary arguments by establishing clear guidelines early on. Agreeing on schedules and day-to-day rules helps avoid misunderstandings and annoyed housemates.

Some suggested topics to cover include:

  • Bill paying procedures
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Dirty dishes policy
  • Significant others coming over
  • Sleeping habits
  • Noise levels
  • Drinking habits
  • Pet policy
  • Allergies and general health requirements

Step #2 Respect Each Other’s Personal Space

It’s always a good idea to not enter your roommate’s space without their permission. Think about it, would you want someone entering your room when you’re not there?

Step #3 Respect Each Other’s Belongings

Unless you have an agreed upon rule for sharing food try to be mindful of your roommate’s food. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day dreaming of your left-over pizza only to find it eaten by someone else.

This rule also extends to personal belongings. Nothing stirs up bad feelings quite like the notion of someone rifling through your private stuff.

See this? Don't do this.

Step #4 Clean Up After Yourself

Even if a cleaning schedule is agreed on you should always be mindful to pick up after yourself. Certainly don’t leave trash or opened food lying around or an angry roommate will be the least of your troubles.

Step #5 Address Concerns

Bottling up feelings of annoyance will lead to an eventual explosive argument. Speak your mind as problems emerge and work together to find solutions. Whether the problems are big or small you will always be better of for addressing them openly.

Step #6 Don’t Expect To Be Best Friends

Though it’s certainly possible you may end up being best friends with your roommate, the expectation it will happen can often create an uncomfortable dynamic for a roommate. Be friendly but also be aware that their interests, schedules, and friends may not align with yours.

Step #7 Be Open To Change

Living with a stranger (or even a friend) will inevitably bring about new experiences and customs. You should always try to keep an open mind to these differences and change and go with the flow.

Step #8 Remember It’s A Shared Space

What’s most important to remember is that the home you occupy is a shared one. If you’re bringing people over, give your roommate some warning. Before blasting your rock music at 3AM, remember your roommate is one wall over and probably asleep. If you are leaving trash out, don’t forget someone else could be coming home to it.

If you stick to these rules you should be well on your way to having a comfortable shared space. Best of luck!