When you started looking for a new roommate, you were excited; you’d save money on rent, share chores, and have some lovely meals together. You’d eventually make a new friend!
While these scenarios can happen, they’re often overshadowed by fights about noise, the dishes, money, and your roommate’s significant other using up all the hot water. So, how do you maintain a harmonious relationship with your roommate? Clear rules and a lot of compromises are the way to go.
Asking the Right Questions
To avoid such issues as trying to force a slacker to clean the bathroom on a weekly basis or keeping a party animal from transforming your living room into a club every Friday night, choose your roommate wisely.
Finding a great roommate is all about asking the right questions during the initial interview. Take your time to get to know the person you’re about to share an apartment with and ask them as many questions as possible. This way, there won’t be any bad surprises, like a filthy bathroom or waking up on a Saturday morning to find empty bottles and chips crumbs all over the living room floor.
Divvying Up the Chores
Seriously, try to find a roommate who has about the same cleaning habits and preferences as you. If you’re a cleaning wizard and can’t handle one piece of dust on the counters, don’t attempt to live with a slacker and vice versa. This will be an issue that’ll come up virtually every day when sharing living space with another person.
One way to avoid having your kitchen look like the one in the picture above is coming up with a chore chart. After a few weeks, if one of you is really struggling with sticking to the chore chart, re-evaluate the situation. You might end up agreeing on trading chores, meaning one of you does the dishes while the other one cooks. Or one of you dusts the entire apartment on the regular, but the other person keeps the bathroom spotless.
Keeping the Noise Down
There’s nothing worse than being woken up at five in the morning because your roommate slams his bedroom door or accidentally drops the pan onto the kitchen floor while trying to make scrambled eggs.
For this one, you’ll need to compromise a little bit, especially if you’re an early riser and they’re a night owl. Be sure to have a talk about your daily routine and habits and how you can live happily alongside each other, without throwing a tantrum every time one of you makes a bit of noise.
Staying on Top Of Costs
Even if your roommate is super cool and becomes a real friend over time, the financial side of things should still be approached in a rational way. Come up with ways of dividing up costs from the beginning.
Most importantly, set up ground rules for which things you’ll share and which will be taken care of separately. If you do end up agreeing to buy shared items, make sure to stay on top of what each of you spent. Money sharing apps like Splitwise can help avoid arguments about who paid for which items.
After setting up all these rules, staying on top of finances, making sure the chores are being taken care of, and keeping the noise level to a mutually agreed upon minimum, you can still establish a friendship with your roommate.
After all, with the right person, sharing an apartment can be awesome. Make sure to set aside a night a week where you catch up with each other over coffee or a drink. This will make you feel more comfortable with each other from day one and allow you to keep things friendly in any conflict that might come up in the future.
Before you move in with someone, make sure you get to know them a little bit and find out what their habits and routines are. Try to compromise on as many things as possible.
With things you know will be important to you, establish rules from day one to avoid any surprises and unnecessary conflicts. You might gain a few new friends by living with other people!