Roommates, we’ve all heard about them. The horror stories, the lucky ones that found their best friend through random assignments, the funny memories that come from sharing a tight space, and everything in between.
When I went off to college, I didn’t have high expectation of finding the “dream” roommate, but I didn’t think I would end up with an awful roommate either. However, usually when you move to an apartment you have some ideal roommates in mind, some friends or people you met in class. However, there’s always a chance someone will decide not to room with you or that you will sign for a four bedroom and only have three people, meaning you will have a random roommate. So how do you work with roommates?
First off, is a roommate right for you? Or are you someone who is better living alone?
In many movies and tv shows, they show best friends living together and all the exciting adventures they have, but that doesn’t mean having a roommate is for everyone. Roommates can be great, because they’re built in company, you could live with your friends, and it can be a lot of fun. However, having a roommate can also be a lot of work if you’re better suited to living alone.
Some things to ask yourself before decided to have a roommate:
- How much do you care about having your own space?
- Are you worried about having unwanted guests?
- What kind of noise are you ok with?
- Can you deal with someone being up and moving around while you may be sleeping?
- What are your cleaning habits?
If you’ve thought about these and you still want a roommate, great! Roommates can be a lot of fun, but even if its your best friend, there are a few things you need to consider.
If you’re going to have a roommate…
Even living with your best friend doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing.
Living with your best friend can be a magical experience, it can be one of the best experience in all of your college career, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. When you picture living with your best friend, you picture that honeymoon phase, but being friends with someone and being roommates are two different ball games. In one situation you get to choose when you get to see them and in the other, you’re forced to see them even when you’re not feeling like socializing. If you decide to live with your friends, consider how often you like to hang out with them, what bothers you about them, can you tolerate those things. By predicting potential conflicts, you’re more likely to be prepared if problems come up in the future.
There will be conflict.
No matter how much you try to avoid it, there will be conflict and you have to be prepared for it. Figure out one another’s communication styles and try to ensure you communicate with them about your expectations, whether its about cleaning habits, grocery shopping and what you share in the fridge, or noise. Talking these things out will make it an easier process and a much better living experience.
Are there any bills you’re going to share?
Mom and Dad always said “sharing is caring”, but that doesn’t mean you should share your money and pay more than your roommate. If you’re going to split any bills, like electricity, wifi and cable, or if you’re in a group lease and split the rent, make sure this is agreed upon before moving in together. A great way to have this arrangement worked out is through a roommate contract.
Are there any rules you need to agree on or things you refuse to compromise on?
Everyone has their deal breakers (mine is leaving food remnants in the sink) and those are things you need to have talked about before you agree to move in together. If you don’t want a lot of overnight guests, you should let your roommate know, same goes if its your pet peeve to have the dishwasher running at night (small stuff can lead to big problems in the end). Again, utilize a roommate contract to make sure if conflict does arise you’re taken care of.
Overall, whether or not you want a roommate is up to you. Everyone needs something different from a roommate, and has different expectations and some people are better off living alone. For those that do decide to have roommates, remember a roommate contract and if you have anymore doubts about roommates or questions on how to deal with conflict refer our Pinterest board.