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Roommate Survival Guide

There are many reasons that a person gets a roommate in their life, and many different ways that you can deal with this person. The biggest thing is to make sure you get along, as living with a stranger can be a big challenge!

Before your new roommate moves in, make sure you discuss what is and is not expected of them. Do they get their own space for food, do you expect them to clean the common areas, do they have to help with the outdoor work, and whatever else may come up. If this person is a total stranger, you may want to put everything in writing so that both of you know what to expect. If you search on the Internet, you can find samples of rental agreements and just fill in the blanks.

That word, “respect,” is the key. Let your roommate know as soon as you can about your little quirks and preferences. Communicating what you need is one of the best ways to eliminate problems before they become problems.

It is simple. Don’t violate your roommate’s space. Ask before you borrow anything. Discuss the sharing of supplies, food, and personal belongings. Never use your roommate’s stuff without asking permission and do not allow your friends to do so either.

Set up the ground rules right off the bat. Talk about one another’s preferences immediately. Discussing these preferences can help you establish certain rules. Make sure that the rules are clear.

These guidelines will help you to figure out where the boundaries are. When I lived with two other people, we made an excel-style chart with all the chores that needed to be done down one side and our names across the top.

You both need to participate in the upkeep of the living quarters. The sooner you can discuss chores with your new roommate, the better. Make sure to set aside some time to go through the list of common chores, both weekly chores and those that have to be done less frequently.

It’s also important to be reasonable in your expectations. It’s obviously best to be on good terms with your roommate, you don’t need to be together all the time. It’s important to be tolerant of your roommate. You’ll meet people from many backgrounds and many different places in their lives.

Sharing space can be a challenge especially if you have to share a bathroom. You want to make sure you know each others schedules, especially in the morning if you are both getting ready for work at the same time. If that is the case, you may need to make a time schedule and each person gets the bathroom for a certain amount of time each morning, and beyond that, its free game.

Another tricky place can be the kitchen. If you are sharing the kitchen, you need to determine how you are going to share cupboard, fridge and other space. Do both of you cook meals, or does one of you eat out more than the other? Maybe a kitchen schedule can be made, where you share the food bill and take turns cooking, or one might cook and the other do dishes.

Of course, the more space you share, the more space that needs to be kept clean. Just like everything else, you need to make an agreement in regards to this. If your roommate keeps to their room and only comes out to eat, then it is not a big deal, but most people aren’t like that.

Having a roommate can definitely have its trials and tribulations. For some it works out, and for others it doesn’t, but you will not know until you try. Good luck.

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