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Tips for Living with a Roommate

Having a roommate can be a very rewarding and pleasant experience. Outside of the obvious cost-saving benefits, there’s someone with whom to share the chores, someone from whom to learn new recipes, someone to introduce you to a new circle of friends… But, like with all relationships, it takes work to make it successful. Here are a few tips to make your roommate relationship as enjoyable and supportive as possible:

Set Expectations Up Front

As roommates, you'll be sharing a small space for a long time, and you'll need to respect each other's needs and preferences. Don't assume that your roommate will just figure out your preferences and expectations; that could lead to a lot of conflict. What are the rules for guests? How are you going to split the chores? Can they help themselves to your milk if they’ve run out? Make sure you and your roommate have a clear understanding of how living together will work so you don’t get on each other’s nerves the entire time.

Don’t Keep It In

Even with great communication, problems can still arise. If your roommate is doing something that's bothering you, address the issue as soon as you notice it so you can do so in a calm and friendly manner. Maybe your roommate isn’t even aware there’s a problem. The longer you let it go, the more habitual their behavior will become, and the angrier you will get. Not nipping issues in the bud will almost certainly lead to an argument, not to mention, unnecessary stress and anxiety for you.

Be Conscious of Your Own Habits

What side of the over-vs-under toilet paper argument are you on? As silly as it sounds, getting used to someone else’s habits can be challenging and even infuriating. Do what you can to be a good roommate – try not to leave dishes in the sink, put things back where they belong when you’re done with them and just be mindful that sharing a living space can be a struggle and takes constant work from everyone involved.

When you’re inviting people over, give your roommate the courtesy of letting them know ahead of time. Maybe they’ve had a particularly hard day and would rather have a quiet night. Or, perhaps, they need to study and will plan on going to the library instead of coming home to allow you the opportunity to entertain your friends. And when you do have guests, make sure they are respectful of your roommate’s space and expectations, as well.

Keep an Open Mind

Your roommate can have a background that’s very different from yours or even come from a different culture. He or she may have an entirely different lifestyle, ideology, and perspective than yours. Keep an open mind and respect the differences between you. You might even find the diversity this experience brings to be very rewarding.
What tips do you have for making the roommate relationship work? Let us know in the comments.