Living with roommates is a great way to save money when you first move out on your own or if you’re living in a big city with a high cost of living. You all may have a lot of fun together, but there are bound to be clashes and disagreements with different personalities under one roof. These six tips can help you not just get along, but learn to love your roommates.
1. Discuss everything.
Sheldon’s roommate agreement on “The Big Bang Theory” might be an extreme example of laying down the guidelines for living with roommates, but he has the right idea. If both of your names are on the lease, rules should be mutually agreed upon. If you’re subletting space to a roommate, you have more freedom to have it your way, but let your roommates know where you will compromise and what rules are non-negotiable. The HomeSlice app can help you keep the lines of communication open in the digital age, from knowing when you’re out of TP to making plans for the night.
2. Be fair about splitting expenses.
Your discussion before you move in with roommates should include talking about how to split expenses. Some of the questions you should address include:
- Is everything split evenly?
- Who will collect the money and pay the rent and other communal bills?
- What happens if a roommate is consistently late with payments?
You can avoid some of the awkward, “Can I have the rent money?” conversations with apps. There are some that provide automatic reminders that money is due and let you easily transfer funds from one roommate to another.
3. Create a chore chart.
Roommates tend to fight about the same things married people do, like money and housework.
A chore chart can help eliminate one whole category of fighting. Outline everyone’s daily, weekly, and monthly duties, and hang the chart in a prominent spot in the home. If you’d rather have the list in the palm of your hand, consider downloading a chore app, like Chorma or HomeRoutines. These apps sync across devices so everyone knows what needs to be done. The apps also suggest common chores or places in a home that need to be cleaned and might be overlooked, such as the baseboards or behind the refrigerator, helping everyone stay on top of all the little details.
4. Talk about conflicts and find ways to resolve them.
A lot of roommate arguments can be avoided by using common sense and having mutual respect for each other and everyone’s space. If your roommate just bought filet mignon to grill that night with their significant other, don’t slice it up for a stir-fry lunch.
If your roommate is being inconsiderate, look for ways to solve the specific issue. For instance, if your roommate doesn’t fill the water pitcher, get an on-faucet filter instead. Or if someone leaves their laptop on, downloading HD movies and slowing down the Wi-Fi while they’re at work, bring that up with them. You may even consider discussing if you have a fast enough internet connection and deciding how much Internet speed you actually need.
Finding practical solutions to common conflicts doesn’t mean you’re a pushover; it means you’re willing to work to make everyone’s life easier.
5. Respect each other’s privacy.
A little respect for privacy goes a long way. It’s cliché, but come up with signals to let your roommate know you’re busy in the bedroom. Be considerate about blasting your music if your roommate is on the phone, or talking loudly on the phone when your roommate is studying. You may want to write a schedule so each roommate gets the place to themselves once a week, if needed.
Whether you want to entertain guests or do your P90X workout program in private, it’s important to not feel like you have to share everything with your roommates.
6. To love your roommates, be lovable
Of course, you may encounter toxic personalities or problematic roommates who seemed to step right out of the script of “Single White Female.” If that happens, you may have no choice but to see about terminating your lease and someone moving out.
But most roomies are just like you – single guys and gals looking to save money by sharing space. By communicating, being respectful, and looking for simple solutions to common roommate problems, you’ll become the roommate everyone loves. And when your roommates love you, it’s easy to love them back.