It isn’t easy, living with a roommate. But sometimes it’s necessary — whether you want to save money or rent a place close to work or school that you wouldn’t be able to afford on your own. If you’ve decided to live with another person, here are some tips to make it work for the both of you:
Keep Important Stuff Divided
One of the most important things about sharing an apartment is making sure you know what’s fair game versus what belongs to each specific person. Things like food and hygiene products are generally considered to be something that belongs to the person who bought them —it’s pretty bad form to eat your roommate’s ice cream— but things like cleaning products and laundry baskets might be okay to share. Sit down together and decide what’s personal and what communal — before the issues begin.
Put Things Back
If you decide you’re going to use something that your roommate bought, even if they’re explicitly okay with you using it, you should put it back. When you use their cleaning supplies to wipe up something you’ve spilled, put them back once it’s clean. After you’re done watching TV, put the remote back on the living room table, rather than letting it get lost in the couch. Even if you just have to move your roommate’s milk in order to get your leftovers at the back of the fridge, put it back when you’re done.
Share Public Space
Certain areas, like your bedroom, will obviously be considered private space. If you have individual bathrooms, those will probably be considered private too, and you should respect that privacy. However, living rooms and kitchens are public areas, and therefore you should make sure you’re treating it as a public area. Don’t be loud and obnoxious in the living room, don’t leave your things all over the floor, and don’t invite friends to stay on your couch without asking your roommate. Try using a coaster when you put drinks on the living room table, and make sure things like knives and other kitchen silverware are worked out —should you put knives up or down? Do they need their own drawer? If you do have to share a bathroom, you may also want to work things out such as whether you put the toilet paper over or under. It’s the little things, but it makes a big difference.
Every time you decide to do something in your shared apartment, think about how you would feel if your roommate did that exact thing to you. Sure, it might be easier to leave your dishes in the sink as opposed to washing them or putting them in the dishwasher, but you’d probably be frustrated if your roommate piled up dishes in the sink.
Talk to Each Other
The most important thing to make sure you and your roommate get along is to make sure communication is always open. You’ll never get anything done if you just seethe quietly about things that make you upset at your roommate, especially if they don’t realize they’re doing anything wrong. There’s nothing wrong with talking to your roommate if you’re upset at them; more than likely, they’re just not thinking about it! If you express your frustration in a healthy and gentle manner, you won’t run the risk of exploding on them for something small in the future.
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