There are no ideal roommates. (Oh, common, do not flatter yourself – you are not ideal either.) There are only roommates who know how to maintain positive relationships. And we are going to share this sacred knowledge with you below.
No more horror stories about monster and freak roommates! Welcome to the master class on how to be a good roommate and survive those who are not.
How to Be a Good Roommate? Learn the Basics
The co-existence of two people squeezed in 15 square meters (that is the average size of a dorm room) is hard. To do it successfully, you need to be extra-sociable and extra-tactful, to reach tens of compromises every day and feel comfortable in your own room at the same time. Here are the top causes of annoyance, scandals and break ups between roommates:
- Cleaning. Dirty dishes, spoiled food in the fridge, and hair in the bathroom are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard. Be sure to clean up everything after yourself – dishes, bathroom, etc. It does not mean that you should become a neat freak or pin clean up schedules and reminders everywhere (this won’t help you anyway). Just discuss the expected minimum standards of cleanliness with your roommate, agree upon them and adequately share the chores.
- Food. Do not eat your roommate’s food unless you have agreed about it beforehand. Be sure to keep to your obligations as to buying food and cooking.
- Visitors. Negotiate when is the best time for having guests. Do not forget to warn your roommate beforehand when you invite somebody (especially if it's your parents who are going to come over).
- Privacy. One of the best answers to the question how to be a good roommate is to respect your roommate’s privacy. Do not tell his/her secrets to everyone on campus, do not read his/her diaries or messages. Do not look over his/her shoulder when s/he is texting on Facebook. And don’t ask questions about conversations you overhear.
- Moral support. You’d better not give too much advice when your roommate doesn’t ask you for it. However, it is better to offer reasonable help when it is necessary. Sharing a room does not mean that you have to be best friends. Still, spending some time with one another and going out together from time to time can be great.
How to Be a Good Roommate? Improve Your Conversation Habits
Even if you draw and sign a roommate contract, you still may have some conflicts. No matter what happens - always keep calm. Before you voice your concerns or suggestions, make certain to relax - take a deep breath. Try to choose phrases that may help your roommate feel involved in a discussion rather than blamed – this will likely ease the situation:
- What if…
- Maybe we should…
- I think…
- It seems like…
- I wonder…
Softer wording will create better conditions for having a discussion instead of a quarrel. Your goal is to solve the problem, not to start a fight over it, right?
So, learning these basic strategies can be a perfect start to a great relationship with your roommate. And what are your ideas on how to be a good roommate? Join the conversation in the section below.