You love horror movies, but your roommate loves rom coms. You keep it so clean you could eat off the floor; they don’t mind if the trash is overflowing. You listen to country music; they prefer head-banging heavy metal. You set an early Saturday morning alarm to clean and do laundry; they would rather sleep all day.
Whether you’re being matched with a stranger or moving in with lifelong best friends, sharing a space with a roommate can be challenging. From simple things like movie and music preferences to major discrepancies in lifestyles and living expectations, it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to find someone who likes and does everything exactly as you do. Need some advice on how to get along with new roommates? Check out these 5 tips!
Make Your Pet Peeves Known
Everyone has something that drives them crazy. Whether it’s leaving dirty socks on the floor, gum smacking, blasting music, or splashing toothpaste in the bathroom sink, it’s often the littlest things that make it difficult to live with someone. If you can’t stand the idea of someone other than you sitting on your bed, let your roommate know. If you can’t tolerate the sight of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, make it clear. If you hate when people put their feet on the coffee table, say so.
A good roommate is one that communicates their needs and is respectful of others. Share your pet peeves while keeping in mind that you may have to compromise on some issues.
It’s ideal to have the pet peeve conversation before you even move in together. If you can’t do it beforehand, do it right from the start. The longer you wait to have the conversation, the more frustration and anxiety you’ll let build up—and the harder it may be in the long run to repair what’s already been broken.
Set Reasonable Expectations
Your roommate is not a guest in your home, just as you are not a guest in theirs, so you have to be reasonable when it comes to setting expectations. Once you’ve shared your pet peeves, come to an agreement about what is expected and how you are going to be considerate of each other’s needs. You may be firm about some things, such as keeping the noise down after 11 pm. However, be willing to compromise on some of the little things that you can put up with.
It’s also important to set realistic expectations on the level of your friendship. Roommates don’t always end up becoming best friends, so you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect that to be the end result. A roommate doesn’t have to be a close friend you share secrets with—they only have to be someone with whom you can share your space.
Learn How to Be Flexible
Whether you keep a detailed cleaning schedule or both pitch in to keep your place tidy, you’ve got to be prepared to be flexible. Take out the trash if they have a 25-page paper due at the end of the. Help clean the room if their parents will be in town for the weekend. Your roommate will remember it the next time that you find yourself too busy to do your part.
Everyone has their flaws and everyone has their own way of living their life. Be flexible on your demands, be reasonable with your expectations, and be willing to compromise. It’s the only way to get through a less-than-ideal roommate situation (and it’s a valuable lesson to learn if you really want to be prepared for post-college life).
Be Conscious of Their Space
Everyone needs their personal space, so it’s a good idea to set some simple ground rules based on respect for each other’s need for privacy. Designate a few hours per week that you can agree on for one of you to occupy the space alone while the other is gone. If you have opposite class or work schedules, this may be very easy to do. If you have similar schedules, make a point to spend some time apart so that each roommate can have a break and a bit of alone time.
No one is going to be too appreciative of an impromptu party when they’re trying to study or catch up on sleep. If you’re planning on bringing friends over, let your roommate know in advance. It’s the courteous and respectful thing to do.
Tell It Like It Is
When it comes to working out issues or venting your frustrations, be blunt. Taking a passive approach to roommate issues will only make the problem build to a boiling point. Let them know if they are breaking the ground rules. Air your grievances and have a meaningful conversation so that you can resolve small issues before they become big problems.
It can be challenging to work out a perfect living arrangement with a new roommate. However, if you set some ground rules that everyone can abide by, it’s likely that you’ll both end up enjoying your space (and time) together.
About the contributor:
Carolina Cove is the best value apartment complex in the Wilmington area, catering to students. Our new state-of-the-art upgrades are sure to make you feel right at home.