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Top 5 Tips For Being A Better Roommate

Living with roommates is a fact of life these days. Rent costs on many apartments have skyrocketed. Few people can afford the expense of an apartment on their own. Living with others is largely about reducing costs but it can also be about companionship. Roommates that start as strangers often become good friends. Conversely, living with your friends can strain relationships that were once quite strong. The best way to have a positive roommate experience is to become the best roommate that you can be.

And of course it should go without saying – use our roommate agreement template because that will really stop any potential issues.

1. Respect Personal Space

An easy way to drive a wedge between you and your roommates is to invade their privacy. You may be the type of person that has no secrets and is willing to share anything and everything. Your roommates may not be. You can win your roommates’ respect by always knocking on closed doors and waiting for a response before entering. Also avoid the temptation to snoop in their rooms or borrow things that are not yours without their blessing. Remember that respect given is often respect earned.

2. Keep Common Areas Clean

You do not have to be a clean freak to be a good roommate. Lots of great people can also be slobs. You should feel free not to make your bed or allow your bedroom to become cluttered. As long as there are no issues with smells, pests or safety your own space can be kept in whatever fashion makes you happy. However, it is important that the areas that you share with your roommates such as the kitchen, bathrooms, living room and dining areas remain clean and accessible. Wash your dishes after cooking and eating. Clean up any spills on the oven, counters or appliances. If you make a mess in the bathroom clean it up before you leave. Remember to take your belongings and any dishes, glasses, bottles or cans with you when you leave these common areas.

3. Communicate Early and Often

One of the best ways to avoid unexpected conflicts with a roommate is to communicate as much as possible about your expectations and pet peeves before things reach a breaking point. Talk to your roommate about work, study and sleep schedules. Decide with your roommate how you want to split bills and household chores. Be considerate and inform your roommate when you are expecting guests and how long they will be staying. If you will not be around or are going out of town let your roommates know when you will be back and how to contact you in an emergency. If you encounter issues with your job or your ability to meet your share of the household responsibilities it is important to inform your housemates as soon as possible. The more you talk to your roommates the fewer problems you will have.

4. Pay Your Share of the Rent and Bills Promptly

Nothing creates problems between roommates as quickly as unpaid bills. Budget your money so that you do not have issues meeting your share of the financial responsibilities. Pay your bills promptly as they become due and never skip payments or allow bills to pile up. If a financial issue does arise never hide it or avoid it. Address any issues as soon as possible so that they do not become larger problems for you and your roommates.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Learn to let go of minor irritations if they are not chronic or escalating. It may be worth discussing if your roommate plays loud music during your study or sleeping hours. It probably is not a great idea to berate him for listening to heavy metal rather than the underground hip-hop music that you prefer. If your roommate constantly leaves a mess in the bathroom sink that is a legit problem while a spot of toothpaste on the bathroom mirror probably is not. If you can avoid unnecessary confrontations over minor issues it will be far easier to build a positive relationship with your roommates.

If problems do arise take the time needed to calm down and then come together and discuss issues in a civil and rational manner. It can be easy to blame issues on the other guy but the best way to avoid issues in your house is to become the best roommate that you can be.