Editor’s note. This article is written by Francine Fluetsch from Uloop.
Living with other people can be quite a challenge, especially if you didn't know them before you had to move in with them.
Sharing a space with strangers is a lot different than sharing with your sibling, since you can yell at a sibling and have your parents play referee. With a random roommate, or even a roommate you've known for a while, you have to try and stay civil and work out your differences to keep the living environment peaceful and as far from awkward as possible.
We've all heard those roommate horror stories, and while you can't control the habits for the people you live with, you do have a choice when it comes to the type of roommate that you are.
Here are four ways to help make yourself the best roommate possible. If your roommates see you exemplifying these traits, maybe they will be inspired to be better roommates as well.
1. Consider your noise level.
When you and your roommates first meet one another, it is a good idea to compare school schedules and sleeping habits. You can all agree on a "lights out" time or quiet time, so everyone will get a good night's rest.
If you know that one of your roommates is stuck with those dreaded 8 a.m. classes, it might be a good idea for you to keep the noise level low, watch shows with headphones instead of blaring it on your speakers, and study in the living room or library so the light doesn't keep them up. They can repay the favor by being quiet in the morning, and not waking you if you get to sleep in.
It's easy to take your studying materials somewhere else, or have a group of friends meet outside instead of in your dorm room, but the bedroom is the only place where you and your roommates can really sleep, so that should be a rule that really sticks. If you are quiet and courteous, you can expect your roommates to give you the same respect, and if they don't, you can kindly remind them of the agreement that you all made.
There can, of course, be exceptions, like on weekends for example, but these too need to be agreed upon.
2. Pick up after yourself.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but after a certain period of time all of you are going to get busy, and you will all think that you each do the most cleaning, thus making you all mad and deciding to leave the mess for someone else, resulting in your place becoming disgusting.
We all get stressed especially around midterms or finals, but that doesn't mean you should just expect your roommates to pick up the slack. If you know that you are going to fall behind with cleaning due to an assignment, inform your roommates that you will pick up the slack right after you get the stress off your chest, but don't tell them to do your chores.
You want to show them that you will take responsibility for the messes you make, and that they in turn should do the same. If you have created a chore chart together, put in your best effort to get all of your chores done in a timely fashion. If your roommates see you cleaning and getting your share done, it will result in them feeling the need to get their share done as well, and everyone wins. Make it your goal to never be the slacker.
3. Switch off with cooking.
You and your roommates are probably too busy to cook every day, especially with all the prep time and the shopping that has to be done beforehand, so why not offer to switch off? You cook for them sometimes, and they cook for you, and then you all get home cooked meals with half of the effort.
A great way to make this as efficient as possible is to go over each other's schedules and see which days work for each of you to cook. Everyone needs to be on board for this to benefit all of you, but if it's done right, it will help each of you out, and make you closer as roommates.
4. Ask permission for guest visits.
If you are planning to have a few people over for drinks or a movie night, or want your significant other to sleep over, or want to have your family stay at your place for a few days while they visit you, make sure to ask your roommates and clear it with them first. Even if they seem really chill and you think that they won't mind, or they've said yes before, you still want to ask them to show that you respect the fact that your place is a shared space.
If you don't ask them, they will start to build up resentment towards you, creating an awkward living space, which you definitely don't want.
These are just four ways to make yourself the best roommate that you can be. Remember, it starts with you, so lead by example!
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