Whether you’re a college student sharing a dorm, or a person living in an apartment with a couple of others, it will be difficult to get along at times. Even if you’re all best friends you will, at some point, get on each other’s nerves. There are certain things you can do, and proper ways to act, that will help all of you get along as well as you can. Being thoughtful, considerate and forgiving will help tremendously.
Some people are messy; others are clean freaks. No matter which one you are you’ll have to change! If you’re the messy type it’s time you learn consideration for others. Clean up after yourself, rinse off your dishes, throw away any trash you create. Don’t expect others to do it all for you. Even though your clean freak roommate might pick up after you for now that will soon get old. Resentment can build, even if the other person doesn’t mention it, and arguments can erupt later. You are responsible for yourself, your laundry, your dishes, your messes.
If you’re the type who loves everything to be clean and neat you could become exhausted trying to clean up after your lazy roommates. You have two choices: clean up after your own self and leave the rest for the roommates. Or, clean up after them and give up your own free time. It’s a good idea to know the other people before inviting them to become roommates. Messy people usually remain so all their lives!
It’s helpful, when you first move in together, to make a list of rules. They don’t necessarily have to be written but should be understood and agreed upon by all. Things to discuss include coming and going during early morning or late night, chores, money, food, and bills. It should be understand who owes what and when, as well as who is responsible for food and incidentals. Take turns or split everything evenly, every time.
Taking turns, like alternating weeks of grocery-purchasing, can cause some problems. When it’s someone else’s turn to buy food, for instance, they might get real chintzy and purchase only the cheapest things, and only enough to barely get by. When it’s your turn, however, you might be in the mood for something a little more substantial. Splitting everything evenly, every time, works best for most roommates.
Other than money and expenses there are other things that must be shared. Splitting bills might work for household expenditures, but when it comes to chores, the week-at-a-time rule often works best. Take turns, a week or month at a time, taking out trash, doing dishes, doing shopping, or even the vacuuming. Making sure everyone knows when they’re responsible for what will take a lot of stress out of the relationship.
People who can easily talk to each other will have a much easier time compromising. Compromise will be pertinent to maintaining a good relationship with your roommates, and so will communication. Discuss things that bother you but do so in a friendly manner. If that doesn’t help, reiterate at another time, but be a little more firm. Handle disagreements and problems with a calm attitude and you can often head off arguments.
Consider others when using the tv, stereo or other noisemakers. Having sets of earphones around can be extremely helpful. Agree on a time when it’s appropriate to turn the volume down or off. Noises aren’t the only thing that might cause friction between you and your roommates. If you’re a smoker take it outside. If you have company over make sure you’ve let the other roommates know before bringing them or inviting them.
Agreeing on certain days or nights for company can be helpful. One of you can have the say-so over Friday nights, and for the other, Saturday nights. This might work for two roommates but could cause trouble for more than two. Weekends are the most popular times for people to have guests – especially overnight guests – so you could have to take turns on weekends.
Besides money issues one big consideration for roommates is borrowing each other’s belongings. It’s a good idea to never borrow, but if you must, treat it as if it were your own. Return items when you say you will and if an accident should happen – whether it’s a scratched cd or a wrecked car – you are responsible financially. Don’t let the issue fester. The roommate is likely going to be upset but take care of your responsibilities immediately. Don’t make the roommate have to beg or threaten you to pay for the damaged item.
It’s not always easy to live with others – even if you love them. Be considerate, overlook as much as possible, and go out of the way to keep a calm and friendly attitude. Communicate as much as possible when it comes to things that bother you. If you see that it just won’t work out it’s best to move before a permanent rift comes between you and a friend.