There’s a saying that you never really know a person until you live with them. This statement might hit close to home if you’ve ever tried bunking up with one of your good friends and discovered a few of their quirky habits. Some tendencies are ones we can live with. Others, not so much. But no matter how rough the ride may get with your roommate, you never want your relationship or the environment you live in to turn into a negative experience. And you especially don’t want to sabotage a friendship altogether if you’re living with someone you already know. Today I’m going to share a few tips for keeping the peace with your housemate (and maintaining it too). Without further ado, here is my advice…
1. Lay down the ground rules right away.
If you are rooming with a random, a great way to get started on the right foot is to sit down and have a long talk with each other the first day you move in together. According to Everyday Health, sharing stories about your backgrounds, your preferences, and your living habits can help each roommate to become aware of the other’s needs. You will gain insight into how they grew up, and you should take this meeting as an opportunity to voice what drives you crazy and doesn’t bother you at all. Once you have gotten to know each other, set some rules. Whether those rules are “don’t leave dishes in the sink” or “no guests allowed when studying,” make sure your roomie knows where you stand. If you are living with your bestie or someone you already know, it can be tricky to set up these rules since it seems like such a formal meeting. Instead, go out to lunch with each other, but make sure you both know that it’s a “ground rules lunch” so that you can put this system into action.
2. Make a chore chart.
After you find out what your roommates likes and dislikes, distribute the household duties and write them out on a chore chart. Your chore chart should be on a piece of paper and hung up where you both can see it (the fridge, the back door, or a bulletin board in a common living area are good places). Write out the duties you divided up for each other, and leave a spot for checking them off when the task is done. You might have daily duties, monthly duties, and weekly duties. Make different columns or rows to differentiate between the two. If you notice that your roomie is slacking on their duties, bring it up the next time you get together for your check-in (see below). And if you are the one getting careless, you might want to be prepared for your roommate to (nicely) tell you to get it together.
3. Schedule monthly check-ins.
When you have your first ground rules meeting the day you move in together, plan ahead for monthly check-ins where you sit down and talk about problems, concerns, or changes. This will provide you with a planned time to be open and honest with each other, and you can keep a running list throughout the month of things you want to bring up at the next meeting. Ideally, these check-ins should become more friendly (think happy hour!) and less informational. Your check-ins are your time to tell your roommate what chores they aren’t doing, bring up new issues or questions, and hopefully have fun getting to know each other better.
If you follow these three guidelines, you should be able to maintain the peace and work through any problem that may arise. However, you might find that some people are great friends, but not so great as roommates. There is nothing wrong with simply telling someone that the friendship would be better if you stopped living together, especially if you have very different living habits. Overall, it is best to find someone who is like you and respectful of your space.
Do you have any roommate horror stories? What about a roomie match-made-in-heaven?
Share the good, bad, and ugly below and I’ll be sure to read what you have to say!