10 Important Habits to Start with Your College Roommate

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It doesn’t matter who you are – living with a new roommate is always a daunting reality. You know you have some bad habits, and so do they, so how do you find a balance? Discuss these 10 topics to get your home life started on the right foot.

1. Set quiet hours

Maybe you like to study while your roommate is more interested in having friends over. The best way to handle this is to set quiet hours and get on the same page about guest expectations. Make it a point to be respectful of one another’s needs to avoid any recurring problems.

2. Create a schedule for chores

We can only hope that both you and your roommate will remember (and want) to take out the garbage and clean the dishes promptly. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality, especially when people are living out on their own (from their parent’s house, or dorms) for the first time. To remedy the problem, set a schedule with your roommate for who does which chores and when so that there isn’t a fight later down the road. Also, be comfortable to keep one another accountable and realize that the point of this is to cultivate a clean, and safe living environment for everyone.

You’ll feel more on top, and at ease if you keep a clean home!

3. Cut out the passive-aggressive attitude

We’ve all heard the horror stories of roommates who communicate through passive-aggressive sticky notes rather than just saying what is bothering them. Don’t be this person! If you’ve moved in with some of your best friends, this is the fastest way to kill your friendship. If your roommate is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, just tell them in person like a grown-up. It is actually for your own benefit to speak up for yourself so that you don’t feel like you’re living in a hostile situation. Before even moving in together, agree to avoid tension and practice safe dialogue because disagreements are part of real life.

4. Respect each other’s stuff

Are you starving and all you want to do is eat is your roommate’s leftover pizza? That’s tough, but don’t touch it. In fact, don’t take ANYTHING of theirs without asking, and limit how much you take when they do say yes. There’s nothing more aggravating than a roommate who is stealing what belongs to you. Imagine coming home from a long day’s work and you still have more homework to do – to find that the dinner you had in the fridge is missing! You know how the story ends.

5. Clean up your stuff

We can’t expect everyone to be the posterchild of pristine, neat living. However, cleaning up after yourself is just an indication of being a functional person. Even if your roommate is a bit of a slob themselves, make sure that your things are tucked away and not all over the home. Being aware of your messiness and allowing it anyway is disrespectful, uncleanly, and doesn’t make either one of you feel good at home. Both of you should make a point to pick up your things as quickly as possible to keep the home tidy and comfortable.

6. Create boundaries for significant others

Do you always have your boyfriend over? Without asking? You may be head-over-heels in love and that’s great – but your roommate isn’t and probably doesn’t want them over every single night. It could make them uncomfortable, or be inconvenient for them if you’re constantly asking them to stay away so that you can have privacy. Just like you set quiet hours earlier, you may want to choose days when it works best for both of you to have your person come over. Also, be sure to discuss boundaries with sleepovers, and sharing a bathroom.

7. Learn how to talk to each other

Some things that you do may be gross to your roommate but seem normal to you, and vice versa. As soon as possible, make a communication strategy for how you can convey boundaries, and preferences without hurting each other’s feelings. Oftentimes, being up-front with a positive, friendly attitude works well. If you have to ask your roommate to stop leaving their toenail clippings out, do it with respect and love, and in a way they’ll understanding. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting before you know it.

Imagine all the time and energy you’ll save if you talk about the things you need to, and don’t ever have to argue!

8. Talk about rules for partying

Before you move in, talk about what kind of partying behavior is okay to bring back to your place. If you want to smoke in your room, check with your roommate first. If you come home drunk every night, maybe think about how your noise may affect them. Don’t do something that would make them uncomfortable, and make sure you’re following your apartment’s rules!

9. Don’t surprise them with a pet 

If you’ve always wanted a dog or a cat, bring it up to your roommate before bringing one home. Don’t adopt without talking about it first. Or, if you already have a pet, make sure their behavior is not intrusive to your roommate. Remember, you both share living space, it isn’t just yours.

10. Respect each other

If you have to live with each other for a year, make a point to know what annoys them and what doesn’t. If they’re on the phone, don’t play loud music. If they’re trying to study, don’t talk incessantly at them. And if you have to ask them to stop doing something, say it with respect and kindness. Just treat them how you would want to be treated, and y’all are going to be just fine.

Be kind and you’ll love your living situation!

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