Imagine the very next person you walk past in public being your new roommate. Chances are, you won’t know this person at all. The compatibility between you two would be completely hit or miss. You may have completely different interests, friends, dislikes, etc. They could be a killer for all you know (let’s hope not). Now, could you imagine having what could be a possible killer in your living room without any issue?
Well, with uncertainty comes the possibility of not getting along, which unfortunately is a reality most college students know far too well. And here at Society19, we get it. You don’t need any extra feelings of angst in your life; you already have enough to worry about. Issues with a new roommate should not be one of them. So whether you’re already familiar with the do’s and don’ts of sharing a living space or you’re a complete rook, we’ve curated a checklist of 10 ways to avoid issues with new roommates.
1. Clean Up After Yourself
Absolutely NOBODY wants new roommates who makes messes and doesn’t tend to it afterward. That’s like babysitting for free. Except you’re babysitting grown human beings. Cleanliness and the lack thereof is usually a deal-breaker in the art of being a roommate; it’s not something that’s typically easy to overlook or simply get over. Consider putting this toward the top of the list of things to remain mindful of when avoiding issues with new roommates.
2. Establish a Cleaning Routine/Schedule
To remain along the lines of cleanliness (because it IS that important), establishing a routine or offsetting schedule between you and your new roommates focuses more on the inevitable and reoccurring messes that are to come.
For example, regardless of how hard you may try, eventually there will be dishes in the sink and trash to be taken out. Instead of watching everything pile up in hopes that the other person will have it take care of it, consider setting a schedule of weekly duties for everyone. When the following week approaches, the duties rotate and everyone assumes a new responsibility. This makes things go a LOT smoother and you’ll never find yourself having to step over 12-week-old pizza boxes to get to the fridge.
3. Be Mindful of the Time
Sleep schedules are almost non-existent in college. There will be long nights of both cramming and partying. There’ll even be times where you’ve had a terrible day and you purposely fall asleep at 7 p.m. just to get it all over with.
This is where issues with new roommates can begin to become prevalent. It could be finals week and you just know you aced your last test of the semester, so you’re preparing for lit night. It’s 11 p.m. and you’re in the bathroom blasting music, singing your heart out as you perform at yet another sold-out concert in your shower. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to you, your roommate is in the next room over trying their hardest to study for their last final they have to take at 8 a.m.
Now you’ve got tension waiting on you outside the bathroom. To avoid this, always remain courteous and considerate of what your other roommates may have going on. It’ll take you a long way.
4. Give A Heads-Up Before Inviting Company
Again, this point kind of coincides with the previous mention of courteousness, but instead focuses more on the who rather than the when. A simply heads-up just allows your roommates to know what and who to expect when you’re having company over. After all, I’m sure your roommates wouldn’t be too pleased seeing a group of random strangers sitting in the living room when they take their routine shirtless midnight stroll to the kitchen for cereal.
5. Don’t Even Look At Leftovers That Aren’t Yours
The first rule of college survival is the fact that sharing is not caring when it comes to our food. There’s no worst feeling than going your entire day thinking about the meal you have waiting on you at home, just to get there and realize someone ate it already KNOWING it was yours. If you’re trying to find a way to start a guaranteed fight in the house, just go ahead and eat someone’s leftovers. It’s that serious, trust me.
6. Prioritize When Bills Are Due
Some students live on campus and have the luxury of only having rent to pay; all utilities included. Others may live off campus and are responsible of paying everything separately. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, always make the your payments your number one priority. Don’t be that guy that is always late with rent or can’t cover a bill until next month. Understand approximately how much you’ll be responsible of paying before the bills arrive and execute when it’s time.
7. Avoid Being Excessive
Contrary to popular belief, having too much of something can be a bad thing. Especially when you’re living in a tiny little dorm/apartment with two to three other people. With that said, only keep what’s appropriate and downsize when needed. When things in the fridge are close to its expiration, take the time to just throw it out. You’ll definitely find yourself appreciating the extra space it provides.
8. Allow Your Roommates To Feel Comfortable Enough To Complain
Having open communication is vital to living with somebody. As previously mentioned, without proper thought and courteousness, you may step on someone’s toes without even knowing. In the event of that happening, you want your roommates to feel free and open enough with you to let you know what issues they have. If not, they’ll most likely keep it bottled up, which only leads to a later explosion and more problems for everyone in the future.
If your new roommates do something that bothers you, the best thing you can do is to first address it. Politely ask if they could stop or make a change in what they’re doing, and if it’s not something they’re willing to change, find a way to compromise a solution that satisfies both parties.
You have to understand that everyone may not be willing to simply change their lifestyle or something they’ve done their entire life in an instant, or just because you find an issue with it. And that’s ok! It’s not the end of the world. Remaining calm and finding a middle-ground between roommates usually solve a bulk issues that arise.
10. Overall Respect
Mostly everything boils down to respect. Having an overall respect for your fellow roommates’ space and requests will put you and keep you on the right track during your entire time living together.
Remember that old saying, “Treat others how you want to be treated”? Well, that applies here, too. Simply put, if you’d have a problem with something being done to you, don’t do it to your roommates. If you insist, at least let them know and give them a heads-up. That develops open communication that’ll always be beneficial.
With all the stresses of the world, we all aren’t always out friendliest, and we’re bound to run into some type of disagreement or differing of views with roommates. We’re human at the end of the day.
But unless you somehow find a way to completely disregard our ten suggestions above, you should have no worries having to live with even the worst of roommates out there. Setting a reasonable foundation of rules (if you want to call them that) and boundaries within the first week or so will set the tone for the remainder of your time together, so do yourself the favor of getting it out the way early!