How to Keep the Peace With Your Roommate

How to keep the peace with your roommate

Photo: istockphoto.com

Living with a roommate can be a lot of fun and less lonely than sleeping alone. However, living together is not without its challenges, so rushing into a living situation is never a good idea. Before agreeing to share your space with someone else, there are a few factors you should consider. From choosing a roommate to sharing responsibilities to ensuring a positive relationship, a little preparation goes a long way.

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Find the right roommate

How to keep the peace with your roommate

Photo: istockphoto.com

Choosing a suitable roommate is crucial. Whether you’re hoping for a new friend or just want someone to share the rental cost, compatibility is essential. In addition to asking yourself your gut, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this person have a temperament that I enjoy being with? If a quiet evening at home sounds appealing to you, someone who wants to entertain late into the night might not be a good fit.
  • Do our schedules go well together? If you’re hoping to spend time with your roommate, make sure you’re home together sometimes. If you want less contact, someone who works other hours might be appealing.
  • Does this person have the same values ​​when it comes to caring for a home? If you shudder at the sight of clutter, make sure you’re both focused on apartment maintenance.
  • Can you reliably pay the rent? Make sure your new roommate can cover half of the cost each month.
  • Can you communicate effectively with this person? Problems inevitably arise when living together, so it is important to choose someone to live with who is open to feedback and willing to compromise.
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If you’re considering moving back home or reuniting with family members, try some tips for living in a multi-generational household.

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Set and maintain boundaries

The ideal time to set boundaries in any relationship is at the beginning. Discuss topics such as entertaining guests, sharing common areas, cleaning, and sharing groceries and toiletries. Establish ground rules from the start to avoid awkward conversations later.

In order to do this:

  1. Set aside a specific time to discuss your hopes for the arrangement.
  2. Be open about your expectations and boundaries and listen carefully to them.
  3. Take notes and review them together at the end of the conversation to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

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share expenses

How to keep the peace with your roommate

Photo: istockphoto.com

Be sure to cover the topic of apartment or house expenses during your meeting. In addition to the rent, bills and consumables must be taken into account. Find out exactly how it’s going to work each month, and consider your strengths and preferences when deciding how to split tasks.

Choose a system that is right for your situation. Perhaps you split everything down the middle, or one of you is responsible for the bills while the other is responsible for purchasing items like stationery and cleaning supplies. Whatever you decide, once you know the cost of each, you can pay each other electronically using a free app like Venmo. Better yet, use an app like Splitwise, available for iOS and Android, to organize expenses, track bills, and pay each other back. Avoid the need to send reminders (although the app can do that) and instead set up a fixed payment schedule or day each month.

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When setting up, instead of contributing something, take into account that everyone contributes different items. So it’s clear who can take what with them when you go your separate ways. This helps avoid later ownership disputes or the need to appraise used pieces. Be sure to write down who owns what, as it’s easy to get lost, especially if the agreement lasts several years or more.

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sharing household chores

Since everyone’s needs are different, cleanliness can be a hot topic when sharing a space. It is not uncommon for one person to take on more chores around the house. Avoid hassles and arguments later by creating a cleaning schedule from the start. Take time to talk about preferences and assign tasks. Maybe one doesn’t mind vacuuming and another loves achieving a sparkling bathroom. Create a rotating schedule if you don’t want to be tied to the same jobs every month.

It’s a good idea to keep a visual chart. A chalkboard or whiteboard provides the perfect place to record weekly tasks. For those who want digital reminders, there are apps to help with chores. Try Tody, an app available for iOS and Android that helps you manage household cleaning routines with checklists and notifications.

solve a conflict

How to keep the peace with your roommate

Photo: istockphoto.com

Even the best plans will have some problems. If you live with someone long enough, you are bound to run into conflict for one reason or another, and the sooner you can resolve it, the better. Letting negative feelings simmer can make life uncomfortable, so be open about how you’re feeling instead. Here are some tips on how to approach this conversation.

  • Take the time to talk.
  • Give each person space to express their feelings and concerns. Use first-person statements and avoid finger-pointing, which only puts the other person on the defensive.
  • Before voicing your concern, rephrase what your roommate is saying to make sure you understand.
  • Once you’ve both shared your feelings and made sure you understand where the other is coming from, take turns throwing out solutions for how to proceed. If there is no obvious solution, agree to keep lines of communication open while being mindful of each other’s feelings.
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How to keep the peace with your roommate

Photo: istockphoto.com

5 additional tips to keep in mind

  1. Take responsibility if you are the cause of a crack. We can all be in a bad mood. Taking responsibility for your behavior and apologizing will help you quickly regain control of your life situation.
  2. Living with someone is not always something in return. This means that sometimes it’s okay to surprise your roommate by helping them do half of their chores, especially if they’ve had a rough week.
  3. Practice self-care. The more stressed and tired you are, the more irritable you will be at home. Sleep, hydration, exercise, and sunshine go a long way in improving your relationship.
  4. Be considerate. A little consideration is part of a comfortable living situation. That means doing things like asking before inviting others into your space and cleaning up when they leave.
  5. Have realistic expectations. If you want your home to be 100 percent spotless, quiet, and clean, you might want to go for a Solo studio. Otherwise, keep your expectations reasonable and invest in a good set of noise-cancelling headphones.

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