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By January 9, 2023No Comments

Maybe you’ve found a great new apartment in the building you’ve always wanted to live in, but it’s a two-bedroom, so you need a roommate. Or maybe your roommate has moved out, or maybe you just don’t like living alone.

In an ideal world, you and your roommate would become instant BFF’s, have tons in common, throw fun parties, and always get along. But that’s not real life, is it? Someone doesn’t do the dishes, eats someone else’s food or you find yourselves in some other uncomfortable situation.

Things usually go one of two ways: you have incrimination-filled fights, or things turn into a passive-aggressive post-it war. Neither scenario makes for harmonious living arrangements.

A roommate relationship, like all others, takes work, but here are 8 tips that can help make cohabitation much more pleasurable.

1 ) Set ground rules

You might be rooming with a friend or someone you met by placing an ad, but either way, you need a conversation about your living habits.

This can include setting time limits on noise, who can use what of each other’s belongings, or advance notice about guests. Whatever it is, it’s important to be aware of each other’s needs, likes, dislikes and pet peeves.

2) Track expenses using tech

When household expenses come up and your roommate uses the “I forgot my wallet” excuse, or if you’re the one who never has cash on hand, use an app like Splitwise or Venmo that lets you split bills instantly. These apps connect to your bank account, so you can send your roomie $10 for the takeout they brought home, or they can reimburse you for that phone bill you paid.

3) Know each other’s schedules

It could be that your roommate works late into the night so you don’t want to be blending a smoothie at 7 a.m. Or maybe you have conflicting meal schedules or shower times. Talk about it and come up with something that works for both of you.

4) Don’t leave notes

Well, you can leave notes for necessary or pleasant things, like “I made too much dinner – help yourself to what’s in the fridge.” Don’t leave sticky notes for minor annoyances like replacing toilet paper. If something like leaving the TP roll empty becomes a habit, it’s time to talk, but otherwise, get over yourself and save your annoyance for something more important.

5) Establish a shared budget for household expenses

“I’ll replace that next week,” is often heard when someone uses the last of something like your laundry detergent or milk. Or, maybe you’re the one who’s used the last of something. Whatever the scenario, for items that are often shared, you’re better off establishing a budget and then both contributing. Now, the next thing to decide is who is going to shop for those items…

6) Embrace the chore chart

Chore charts don’t work in every situation, but if either of you forgets to do things on a regular basis, like taking out the trash or vacuuming the living room, they can come in handy. They’re a good idea to let each of you know what needs to be done when and save the, “I forgot,” arguments. Try using a shared Google Sheet.

7) Hang out

Maybe you’re not BFFs, but you should take an interest in each other. Doing things together on a semi-regular basis means you’ll be more likely to talk about household issues organically, rather than in awkward chats, and you may actually become friends.

8) Respect each other

We’re all individuals, and your roommate may come from a very different background. They may be from another culture, or have a different lifestyle, ideology or perspective. Stay open-minded and respect their differences.

The real key to getting along with a roommate (and indeed anyone) is that old Golden Rule – treat your roommate the way you want to be treated. This means that no matter what happens, you’ll know you’ve treated them respectfully and will have no regrets.