SET SOME GROUND RULES
One of the essential aspects of a healthy roommate relationship is setting up your roommate agreement at the beginning of the semester to the way you want the year to go. The roommate agreement is your chance to set rules in your room but also to learn about what your roommate expects of you. Be flexible but also firm with what you know will make you uncomfortable.
CLEAN UP YOUR AREA AND AFTER YOURSELF
This one is pretty basic. I mean, if you make a mess of your room and your roommate likes things clean, there’s going to be conflict. The best way to get over fights with your roommate about cleanliness is to never have them at all. You are now responsible for your own space, so clean it up!!
RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY
Depending on what your roommates’ beliefs or personal preferences are, privacy is something that is important when it comes to sharing a living space. Ask the awkward questions early, like “can we change in front of each other?”, “do you want me to ask before using your stuff?” or “what food can we share?”
TRY TO LEARN THEIR INTERESTS AND BOND
So your roommate probably isn’t going to be your best friend (I mean they might be, but that’s just the luck of the draw). Learn their interests and what classes they are taking so it’s not just small talk about the weather every day. That way, you can develop your room as a friendly space as well as a living area.
RESPECT THEIR SLEEP AND STUDY HABITS
If you and your roommate are waking up for classes at different times, sometimes sleep can become an issue. My advice is to keep a semi-quiet alarm (but one that can still wake you up) and to be quiet when getting ready in the morning, to not disturb your roommate. Also, at night, if one of you has an early class, try to respect that by having lights out and not playing music to disturb them while they try to sleep, as they should do the same for you. Also, in terms of studying, don’t be afraid to ask for them to put on headphones for their music so you can study; people are reasonable as long as you ask nicely.
DISCUSS THE “GUEST” ISSUE
Okay, here’s the reality: people sometimes have “guests” stay over. Whether they are a boyfriend/girlfriend, a not-so-serious coupling, or just a one-night stand, this happens. Make sure you discuss with your roommate about who you believe you will be bringing to the room before you bring them, and how often. Also discuss the times they aren’t allowed. Be upfront and respectful of how they may choose to live their life, as they will respect your choices as well.
If I could give just one piece of advice it would be this. The reason roommates fight is because something small happens, like someone not taking out the trash and you let it boil for three months and then explode at them for not doing their part, when they had no idea you were upset. SAY THINGS EARLY!! Tell your roommate what bothers you and offer solutions and compromises EARLY.
So, what other things do you think are important for maintaining a healthy roommate relationship? Comment below!!