Going to college can be scary, and a little overwhelming at first. Add a new roommate on top of that, and things can feel that much more intense. If you don’t want to step on your roommate’s toes, and be a good mate to share a room, or apartment with, then here are a few ways to make sure that you are being a good roommate.
Getting along with someone you share a space with can feel like the biggest hurdle when moving in with a roommate, but splitting the bills and paying them on time is the number one priority. The best way to be a good roommate is to make sure that you pay for your share on time. For anyone not living in a dorm room on campus, bills could be a huge point of contention if everyone is not on the same page.
Splitting bills evenly every month is the best way to make sure that everyone knows what they have to pay. With multiple bills like utilities, wifi, and any streaming services – like Netflix or Hulu accounts – that may require one person to be the main proprietor, things can get a little murky. The best way to streamline this is to decide who will take care of what, say “Sarah” already has a streaming account but upgrades so everyone can watch something at the same time, then everyone pays her their share for the month. If you stay on top of your share of the bills, then you show your roommates that you take them seriously, and that you take care of your business. Also, if someone always pays on time, then the person taking on the responsibility for the bill will see that you appreciate them. “Sarah” will know that you are responsible, and you want to keep Sarah happy.
Keep up with who has paid with a chart that can be kept on the fridge and checked off when paid. This keeps people accountable, and for those who may leave things to the last minute, it serves as a reminder.
Respect Their Space
No one wants to share a space with someone who walks in throws their backpack across the room, kicks off their shoes and leaves them on the floor, and spits toothpaste on the sink without cleaning it up. To be a good roommate, you have to respect the fact that there is someone else living with you who deserves their space the same way that you do.
Keep your stuff to your area of the living space, and give them the chance to have a part of the space that is just theirs. Deciding where you will both keep certain furniture items and splitting the space between the two of you is an easy way to make sure everything is shared evenly, and that there will be no fighting later on. Realistically, most roommates will have the same amount of stuff when moving in, like a bed, dresser, and desk. Decide where everything will fit and keep to one side of the space so that there is a boundary, then keep to your side.
*Note: This doesn’t mean that you can’t crossover from time to time, especially if you two become friends, but keep this in mind!
If cleanliness is really next to godliness, then cleaning schedules are a bit like the Bible. Live by them! The fastest way to go from a good roommate to an awful one, is to have a dirty room, bathroom, or kitchen. No one wants to come home from a long day on campus to find their shared space torn apart, or worse downright disgusting.
I’m sure that roommate horror stories have circled the internet enough to show how bad things can get. So, put your roommate at ease, and keep things clean. Know that your preferences may be a bit different when it comes to simple messes, like a few clothes on your bed, or leaving books and notes open on your desk. Things like this are pretty normal, especially for busy college students, so don’t worry too much about the little things. However, there are a few things that are unacceptable, like letting a ring grow around the tub, or leaving food out in the kitchen, or letting old food get moldy and drip onto other people’s stuff in the fridge. So, be a good roommate, and keep up on your cleaning duties to ensure that everyone’s space and things are well kept and taken care of.
One of the hot button topics for roommates usually comes down to one thing: bringing home guests. This is a big one! Close to move in, you will want to talk to your roommate about what rules you will both abide by when it comes to having guests over, and especially overnight guests of the male variety. If both of you settle on similar rules off the bat, then great, but if you differ when it comes to guests in the space, then you will need to make sure to step carefully.
If you two differ when it comes to allowing overnight guests, then try to always find a compromise. One person may not want guests over, ever, and the other is fine with guests at any time. You don’t want to make either party feel unheard. So, make a suitable compromise of having guests over at certain times, or having them in shared spaces while there are other roommates present. Or, only allow overnight guests when the other roommate is gone for the night, so they will not have the awkward encounter on walking in on something she shouldn’t see. Then, each roommate will be expected to let the other know when they will be gone and for how long so there are not walking in mishaps.
If each roommate in an apartment has their own room, then this may not be as big of a deal. But, when sharing a room with someone, this can definitely get ugly. So, talk to your roommate and decide what both of you are comfortable with.