Moving in with roommates is both an exciting experience and a cause for stress and anxiety. Regardless of whether you’re familiar with the person or they’re total strangers, living under the same roof can make or break relationships if not nipped in the bud timely. As a result, it’s critical to keep some things in mind before moving in with someone to avoid future misunderstandings. By the way, if you’re on the lookout for your ideal roommates, you can always rely on trusted roommate finders like Cirtru to help you.
We’ve put together a list of 12 things for you to consider before moving in with your roommate:
Let’s look at each point in detail.
1. Ensure timely payment of bills and utilities
Make sure that all bills and utilities are paid on time by you and your roommate. In fact, have a candid discussion about this with them before moving in to avoid future problems. Today, most rentals have online payment options, so it’s much easier to pay bills now than before. Set up an automated notification for the two of you so that you get a reminder right around the time the bills are due.
2. Ask before using someone else’s things
It’s essential to give yourself and your roommate the time to get to know each other before assuming things about them. You may be a friendly, open-hearted person who doesn’t have an issue with your roommate taking food off your plate, but you need to respect the fact that everyone’s different. At the same time, you need to remind yourself that there are some things you may be protective about and wouldn’t appreciate people using, like your laptop.
3. Be thoughtful about movies, music, and TV
The TV is among the common things you need to share with your roommate, so don’t turn into a couch potato and control or decide the programs that you both will be watching. It’s a great idea to talk it out and find something that you both find interesting enough to watch together. Also, be thoughtful about how loud the TV volume is when your roommate’s at home trying to sleep or get some work done. As far as listening to music, use headphones to the extent possible. You can always turn on the volume when you’re alone at home.
4. Know that you don’t need to be best friends
Since you’ll be living in close quarters with your roommate, it makes perfect sense to be warm and polite to each other. Does that imply that you have to be best buds? Absolutely not! Being on good terms with one another is essential to co-exist peacefully, but being dependent on one another can lead to more problems later.
5. Make communication a priority
None of us are mind-readers. So we shouldn’t assume that the person (or people) we’re living with should understand if something’s bothering us through our body language, tone, or passive-aggressive behavior. As with any relationship, it’s crucial to communicate with them whenever something about them isn’t going down well with us, or when we need to share something. But before we have a discussion, it’s key to ask ourselves whether we’re being overly sensitive about an issue. If not, we must talk before things blow out of proportion!
6. Put together and follow a cleaning schedule
As individuals with different mindsets and values, it’s likely that you both will have different perceptions of cleanliness. To avoid clashes, discuss who needs to do what and when, and pen it down. Only if your ideas on cleanliness are poles apart, there’s a problem. Communicate with each other and be reasonable enough to agree to meet each other halfway. If you’re not very clean, you’re going to have to try to be tidier than usual, at least for shared spaces. But if you’re the tidy one, you’re going to have to make peace with the fact that the shared areas might not be as clean as you’d like them to be.
7. Respect people’s space
No matter how much we share with people, we also value our privacy, and we associate it with our space. The reason you and your roommate have your own rooms is to be able to do things without people breathing down your neck! So, entering your roommate’s room or attempting to spend time with them when they wish to be left alone is something you may want to think about. Exchange pleasantries and engage in small talk with them when they’re using the common spaces. And yes, it works both ways.
8. Clean up after yourself
As always, when you use the common spaces, like the kitchen or the living room, it’s important to keep it in a condition such that the next person who comes along can use it without cringing. Do the dishes if you’ve used them, or remove the bottles or packets littered in the living room once you’re done using the spaces. In other words, do for others what you want them to do for you!
9. Create an apartment fund
Apart from rent and utilities, there are other expenses such as cleaning supplies, paper towels, dishwasher soap, and so on that need to be considered. Instead of individually taking turns to pay for these expenses, what would work better is to start a ‘petty cash’ account with your roommate and adding $10 to 20 weekly. The funds can then be used for such shared expenses.
10. Don’t eat your roommate’s food
Would you like it if you open the fridge and find that some of your food’s gone? Not a chance! Likewise, regardless of whether your roommate’s side of the fridge is fully stocked or not, it’s disrespectful, not to mention tacky, to eat someone else’s food without checking with them first. If you’re that hungry, just order some food.
11. Cook and share meals occasionally
One of the best ways to bond with your roommate is to make something nice and make a little extra for them. Good food is always the start to great conversations and a person’s heart! Since you both are busy with your respective lives, it doesn’t hurt to take out some time occasionally and catch up over delicious cuisine.
12. Don’t expect your roommate to stay/leave when you have guests
Your roommate’s not supposed to guess when you’re going to have people over, so give them a heads-up beforehand. As a common courtesy, you can invite them and introduce them to your guests. But remember that they might have other things to do other than entertaining your guests, so give them the freedom to do as they choose.
While it may be natural for us to expect specific behavior codes from our roommates, we need to understand that the same behavior is expected from us. So, the best thing to do is to set an example. In the end, if we practice what we preach, we’ll see the results for ourselves! We wish you luck with your roommate!