• Tips

6 Ways to Be a Good Roommate

List of the 7 ways to be a good roommate. Let’s be upfront: It’s weird to share a room with someone who isn’t family. Most of us grow up having our own bedrooms, then all of the sudden, we head off to college and have to share a small space with someone we've never even met. Then, upon entering the real world, chances are you’ll have to get an apartment with more people that are not family - and don’t think that sharing space with a friend (no matter how close) will be easier, because it’s not. You'll continue sharing space with someone you may not know until you get married.

There are a million landmines that come with living with other people, but here are seven ways that can help you minimize or even avoid an all-out roommate melee. Upvote the roommate tips you like best.

  • 1

    Speak Up When Necessary

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    This step is about knowing how to pick and choose your battles. It’s important not to become a nag, but it’s equally important not to become a doormat. If something is truly bothering you, then speak up! It’s never good to hold things in. It’ll cause you to lash out at someone at an inappropriate time. It’s also the kind of stress that creates cancer. Let’s say if a roommate isn’t pulling their weight keeping the place clean, have a talk with them. Being honest and upfront shows that you have respect for them. Sometimes people won’t speak up because they find their roommate so loathsome that they know it’s a lost cause to even say anything.

    You don’t have to speak up in anger – just be upfront, honest and matter-of-fact with them, and if you can get your other roommates to back you up on an issue, all the better. It doesn't mean that they’ll thank you for it in the long run, but they've got to realize that they’re sharing a place with someone, and that being inconsiderate shows a real selfishness.

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  • 2

    Live With People You Want to Live With

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    A common problem amongst the young people entering society is knowing that it's okay to say "no." Don't think about it as rejecting a person or not wanting to hurt someone's feelings by not wanting to live with them. They'll get over it, and people won't take it as personally as you may think. Hell, it's difficult living with your best friend sometimes. So why would you want to share space with someone you're not comfortable with. It's the same principle as buying a nice mattress. You do it because we sleep one-third of our lives, so it's worth it to pick the best mattress for you. The same goes with living arrangements. If the guy wearing a sports coat, kilt and mohawk seems like the kinda person who'd bug you, then remember that you don't have to live with him.

    If you're the type of person who likes silence, then find a quiet roommate. Interview as if it were a job interview. Ask for references (or at least ask mutual friends how this person was as a roommate). There are millions of people, and it's only getting easier and easier to reach out to them. If you put forth the effort, you'll find someone who's compatible. Just be upfront in your first meeting and keep in mind your best interests.

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  • 3

    Have a Couple of Ground Rules

    Video: YouTube

    It's not bad to have some rules and general understandings with your roommates. They'll have theirs, too, and everything is negotiable. Let's say you have a job where you wash a lot of dishes. When you get home, you're probably not going to be into washing more dishes. If you're upfront with your roommates about this and offer up a trade off - "I'll take out the garbage, if someone else does dishes."- then you've got a nice understanding all set up. Ultimately, it'll make things less tense and slow down that inevitable agitation that comes with sharing space with someone else.

    Nobody wants to be living in a tacky sitcom trope where a chalk line is drawn down the middle of the room. Fights start, continue and get worse due to a lack of communication. Just be upfront, be honest and let your roommates know you're just trying to create the best situation possible for all involved. 

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  • 4


    Get to know your roommates. You don't have to be best friends, but who knows, maybe you could actually become best friends. They only way you'll ever know if is you leave your room every now and then or, at the very least, keep your door open. Maybe every once in awhile you could go out for some drinks or catch a movie. Some people even go so far as having a family roommate dinner night. Where everyone cooks something, you eat together and enjoy each other's company.

    Having a bond will make the whole situation feel less awkward. You'll feel more comfortable sharing things -- like saving money on Netflix or HBOGo. Who knows, you may also one day need your roommate to get you out of jam -- let's face it, our cars are going to break down, and it's always good to have someone on speed dial, so why not have it be someone who lives with you? Most importantly, adult life can get lonely, and many of us have parents that over-worry (so you got to pick and choose when to turn to them). Talking to someone in person who you can relate to will relieve a lot of stress.

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