Whether you are sharing a room in a dorm or rent living place together with a housemate or two, you should be prepared to a lot of surprises, challenges and difficulties – even if you get lucky and find a roommate that is not outright abhorrent. Here are a few tips on how to survive with roommates and, if possible, avoid situations when survival comes into question.
1. Start Anew
If possible, avoid joining an already established living situation. If a person (or, even worse, several people) has been living in a room for some time, he or she will subconsciously feel as a kind of native, while the newcomers will remain newcomers, and thus – inferior. You may establish your status later on, but it is likely to require some work on your part.
2. Avoid Having Friends as Roommates
What can be better than to share living space with your friend, a person you already know and feel comfortable with? Well, experience suggests that you should avoid doing it if you want to remain friends (the same is true about doing business with friends). It’s not that all people turn out mean if you get to know them closer, it’s just that people you like meeting from time to time may turn out to be unbearable when living in the same room. As a result, you will have a lousy time and, probably, lose an otherwise good friend.
3. Don’t Think Your Standards Are Universal
How clean should the room be kept? What hours are people supposed to keep? Is partying allowed, and if yes, how often and for how long? Remember – your ideas of what is proper and natural are not necessarily shared by everyone else, your roommate included. So, define what is to be considered proper and natural from the outset, so that nobody is taken aback and annoyed later on. You may even get official and make your roommate sign an agreement, defining what is allowed and what isn’t.
4. Share the Chores
Compose the list of chores, follow it and, again, make your roommate do it as well. It is very important, because you’ll have to deal with the consequences every day. Vacuuming, taking out the garbage, dishwashing – all these things are have to be done regularly. Arguing about them just won’t do – it is the fastest way to turn your room into a warzone.
5. Hold a Weekly Meeting
It may sound silly, but it really helps. Take time every week to have a short talk about how you are doing: is anybody dissatisfied with the arrangement? Maybe someone has a suggestion how your living conditions can be improved? Maybe a new situation calls for new rules? If you have time to talk it out you will avoid gathering up resentment that can blow into your faces later on.
Let’s admit it – sharing a room with a stranger is tough, especially if you haven’t done it before. A lot depends on how lucky you get. But what you do about your situation is even more important – follow these tips and your life will certainly be easier.