As September comes to an end, many roommates are celebrating their one-month roommate-versary and the roommate honeymoon period may be coming to an end. So as October approaches now is a great time to talk about keeping the peace and taking your roommate relationship to the next level.
One of the most important parts to a successful roommate relationship is communication: nothing can ruin a living situation quicker than built up resentment. It’s smart to communicate early and not let anger build. Also, if you are worked up and irritated, that exact moment may not be the best time to speak to your roommate. The best time to talk about an issue is typically within 24 hours from the incident, but preferable after at least a couple hours. This way you have had time to calm down and think clearly about the incident but still address that issue in a timely matter.
Passive aggressive notes and accusatory statements won’t help the situation. Big problems need to be solved face to face and in a calm manner. Use “I” statements such as “I feel like you are eating all of my food” or “I don’t like when you play your guitar when I’m trying to sleep.” These statements will help keep the conversation from being accusatory and being more about your subjective feelings. No one can argue that you have these feelings.
Set boundaries or, ideally, use a Roommate Agreement. (But don’t go overboard…) Expectations need to be established early or you are going to have a bad time. Your food will get eaten, your expensive dandruff shampoo will be used as body wash, and your favorite sweater will get borrowed without your knowledge and mysteriously turn up on the couch one day three weeks later with an ugly stain on the back that you will never be able to wash out. Well, probably not that bad.
A Roommate Agreement is a simple written document where you can agree on boundaries such as who cleans what and when, how often your significant other can spend the night, how loud you can be after a certain time, what food, if any, to share, and who buys the toilet paper. It’s a good idea to be on the same page about certain things before you get too far into your roommate relationship.
Be respectful and act like the adult that you are. Replace or refill things that you use up. Don’t leave your clothes on the middle of the floor in the living room. Give your roommate some space once in a while. Pay your bills on time. Don’t bring friends over without giving your roommate a heads-up. Clean up after yourself immediately – don’t leave it until later.
Your roommate is a person with feelings and a way they are used to living. Try to respect that and hopefully you will receive the same respect in return.
Below are some helpful links to get you on the best track with your new roommate: