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Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate

Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate

Imagine having to spend an entire year living with the very next person you walk past on your school’s campus. Depending on the size of your school’s population, you may be walking by dozens of people on the daily. The compatibility of you two will be completely random. You may have different likes, dislikes, interests, etc. The higher the population amount, the more likely you are of not being too fond of your new roommate.
Unfortunately for most college students like myself, that is a reality that we know all too well. We’re forced to live with strangers and in order to maintain some type of tranquility within the household, ground rules have to be established. You don’t want to come across as an [expletive], but you also don’t want your toes stepped on in the process. We feel you. Here’s how to balance both worlds.


If you only learn one thing from this entire article, it needs to be this. Have respect for your new roommate. It may already seem like a given, but it is honestly the first and most fundamental step of keeping this cordial when living with someone new.
Like we said earlier, there are high chances that you naturally click with your new roommate right off the bat. You may see things differently in many different aspects, and you have to respect where they’re coming from in order for things to go smoothly. Give respect to get respect in return. It’s extremely important. 
Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate

Have Open Dialogue

To build upon the last point, having mutual respect for one another should allow you to openly speak and say how you feel at all times. Not being comfortable enough to speak to your new roommate about issues (or vice versa) only creates a passive-aggressive environment, which only results in a lack of communication that surely won’t last. 
Instead, if you see an issue or something that needs changing, be upfront with your new roommate and say something about it, and be respectful about it. Having that open dialogue will only benefit you down the line.
Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate

Clean Up After Yourself 

Imagine having a long, draining day at work, only to come home to a sink full of dishes you haven’t used. Half of them still have food on them, too.
Hopefully, the scenario isn’t that bad for you, but I say that to say this. You need to clean up after yourself, and pride yourself in not having anyone to have to clean up behind you. That’ll be like babysitting for free. Except you’re babysitting a full-grown human being! Shameful. Don’t be that guy.
Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate

Don’t Have Sticky Fingers

Though it may seem minuscule at times, if you use that cup of detergent or take that swing of orange juice that isn’t yours, chances are your new roommate notices. Even if they never mention it.
This kind of goes back to the good old-fashioned rule your parents taught you when you were young: don’t do onto others as you wouldn’t want them to do to you. The easiest and ultimate way to bring distrust into the household is using things that aren’t yours (without permission, of course). And once you open that can of worms, it’s no going back, so just don’t do it. 
Roommate 101: Establishing Ground Rules With A New Roommate
Keeping these things in mind when it’s time to coexist with a new roommate will surely have you set off on the right track. You may not be the best of friends. Honestly, you may not even speak at all. It happens. But, these few tips will make it a lot easier to maintain a cordial relationship and live in your home without wanting to constantly pull your hair out.

Do you have a new roommate? In what ways did you establish ground rules? Let us know in the comments!

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