Throughout college, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad roommates. Sharing a space with other people isn’t always easy, but there are some ways to help make it work.
Communicate and establish ground rules. We all have different habits and preferences. Communicate those preferences to your roommates and ask them to do the same. Then, find some common ground and use that to create some rules for your shared place. For example, if one roommate likes to go to bed early, have a rule that guests need to leave by 10 p.m. Or, let your roommates know what possessions you don’t mind them using and what is off-limits.
Track your expenses. Bills add up quickly so it’s helpful to track spending carefully and make sure everyone contributes equally. Luckily, there’s an app for that. The best one I’ve come across is Splitwise. Anytime someone pays a bill or picks up dinner, they log it into the app. Then you pick a day to “Settle Up” and the app does all the math, letting you know who owes who what. You can connect your bank account and pay your roommates instantly.
Share the work. With a great apartment comes great responsibilities. Chores add up quickly and you need to decide who does the dishes and cleans the bathroom. A chart may not work for every set of roommates, but it’s good to have a physical reminder when it’s your turn to dump trash. A set chore rotation also ensures that the same person doesn’t get stuck with scrubbing toilet every week.
Spend time together. Don’t let yourselves become ghosts to one another, where the only time you remember you have roommates is when you realize someone finished the cereal. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do need to get along. Take part in each other’s interests or have a weekly movie night. By spending time together, you’ll be more likely to discuss conflicts when they arise and who knows, you may actually become really good friends.
Effective communication is the foundation for a good relationship with your roommates. Need to brush up on your skills? Take Next Step Academy’s “Communication Skills” course.