It’s never easy to live with someone else, whether you’ve known each other for years or just met. You may have different standards and styles, and it’s easy to get into disagreements. However, there are some steps you can take to make your living arrangement better for everyone involved.
Talk it Out
Before you move in together, take some time to talk about your expectations. Decide what is important to you to have a happy home and listen to your roommate’s needs and wants as well. Be open to having a conversation and compromising when needed. Some important things to discuss include:
- How important is cleanliness? Do you like your space spotless or are you OK with a more relaxed environment?
- How do you feel about guests? This is especially important if either of you (or both of you) have significant others. Be sure to set limits on how often guests can be over and if you don’t want them to stay on certain nights.
- How do you deal with noise? Do you like a quiet and peaceful space where you can unwind? Or does the silence drive you crazy?
- How do you want to deal with common spaces? Talk about your shared spaces like the kitchen and living room. Do you want to split the cost of furniture and dishes or do you want to keep your belongings separate? Do you want to set up a schedule for when you get the space or come and go as you please?
It’s important to be honest during this discussion so you and your roommate know what to expect coming in. This will make sure you’re compatible and that you’re not in for a lot of disagreements and frustration.
Set Boundaries and Rules
Once you get a general idea of how you both want to live, set some more formal rules. Here are a few to consider:
- Agree on money: Decide how you want to split your bills and who is in charge of paying the rent, utilities, internet, and any other shared costs. If one roommate forgets to pay or is late, set up a plan for how it should be dealt with and any consequences.
- Make a chore chart: While you both may agree that you want to keep the apartment fairly clean, it can be difficult to motivate yourself (or your roommate) to actually do the chores. Decide who is doing what and how often and then make a chart to hang on the fridge. Again, you may want to decide on how you want to handle the situation if the chores are not done on time.
- Set physical boundaries: Whether or not you are OK with your roommate borrowing your personal belongings, you should set some boundaries. If you said that your roommate can borrow your clothes, make a rule that they need to ask you first. If you share groceries, both parties should replace any items that they finish off, such as the milk or coffee creamer.
Even if you agree on your living arrangements before you move in, it’s good to know where the line is drawn so there aren’t any unexpected arguments.
Create a Roommate Agreement
It may be helpful to write down a roommate agreement that you both sign before moving in. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands the rules and expectations of living in the apartment. If you already live with a roommate and are experiencing some conflict, creating a roommate agreement may help you compromise and resolve your problems. Both parties should sign the agreement so they are accountable.
Living with a roommate can be a great experience or a nightmare. Understand that confrontations happen with even the best of friends, but if you are respectful and courteous of your roommate’s needs, you can share your space easily and happily.