Address problems quickly.
When your roommate does something that bothers you, confront the situation immediately. Postponing confrontations leads to bearing grudges against your roommate, and it also gives them the license to repeat the infraction simply because they have no clue that something offensive has been done.
Hold a weekly conversation.
Having a weekly chat with your roommate helps you develop transparency in your relationship. At least five minutes a week, you can both sit down and discuss things that have to do with your living arrangement. These could be bills that have to be paid soon, upcoming plans, or even cleanliness issues. Even if you develop a friendship with your roommate and talk on a daily basis, it’s important to set aside a time to talk specifically about household matters.
Lay the ground rules as early as possible.
The moment you choose to live with someone else, you have to face the fact that you are living with somebody who does not share exactly the same values as you. To avoid any misunderstandings, it’s imperative that you both establish the ground rules inside your home as soon as you move in. These rules might include who does do a particular chore or who should pay a particular bill.
Neither be a borrower, nor a lender.
Shakespeare once phrased that when somebody asks for money from someone, he only asks for trouble. Among the things that easily tarnish relationships are money issues. When you are living with someone, try as much as you can not to have any financial liabilities with your roommate to avoid future troubles.
Pick a roommate who is your “financial twin”
Make sure that your future roommate can pay the bills assigned to him or her in the same way you can pay yours. This is really important when it comes to utility uses. For example, a roommate with a higher income base may not see an issue with running the AC at low temperatures since they can afford to pay for the bill, while a roommate with a lower income base may want to increase the AC in order to conserve on the utility bill.
Never share a space with your best friend.
Though living with your best friend may sound like a good idea, think again. Living with someone puts you and the other person in a position where your differences will start to affect each other, thus the possibility for conflict greatly increases. If you value your friendship, try to avoid having them as roommates, or make sure you have a very solid friendship.
Trust your gut.
Never underestimate your gut feeling. If something does not feel right in whatever context, then don’t ignore this feeling. This is especially important when first selecting a roommate. If during a roommate interview you get that gut feeling that something is just not right, more often than not, your gut feeling is correct. Go with it.
Respect your roommate’s things.
One of the few things that may initially create problems is inappropriate borrowing. Some people show this by ransacking the closet of their roommate believing that this is OK. When borrowing things from your roommate, asking permission first is always the rule. Treat your roommate’s property the same way you would want others to treat yours.
Be careful who you bring into your house or room.
Just because you are roommates and you share the same space does not necessarily mean that you can bring anyone into your house anytime you wish. You have to respect the privacy of your roommate. Remember, your roommate’s personal belongings are also part of your shared living quarters.
Always lock your doors and windows.
Though this does not sound like it has anything to do with roommate relationships, this can be very important in keeping your house safe at all times. Can you imagine how you would feel if your apartment is broken into because someone left the door open? What if that person was you? You have to remember that you are now responsible for not only the security your property, but the property of your roommate as well.
Don’t expect your roommate to be your all-time buddy.
It’s good that you develop a good relationship with your roommate, but you have to set boundaries. Just because you are close does not mean you shouldn’t have your own social circle. Be sure to set aside time for other friends as well.
Be open to new things.
Especially when your roommate is somebody you haven’t known for a long time, you have to be open to new ideas and experiences. Start by trying out things that your roommate introduces you to (as long as these new experiences are legal). This will contribute to your growth as an individual and help in building a good relationship with your roommate.
Be open to change.
Because you are now living with someone else, you have to be open to change and learn how to compromise. You may have individual differences, but those should not get in the way of building a good relationship with each other. Use those differences to improve yourself, and embrace each other’s differences to learn how to coexist in the same home.
Post a calendar in a common space.
A calendar in a communal space will help you keep track of important events and due dates. This will also help immensely in the allocation of chores by assigning specific days these chores are to be done and by whom. In this way, there are no disputes over deadlines and responsibilities.
Don’t go to bed angry.
This tip does not only apply to married couples but to roommates as well. You should never go to bed if there are unresolved issues or if you’re angry at something your roommate has done. “Sleeping it off” will only help create a deep grudge. If something about your roommate annoys you in any way, address it immediately and don’t wait for tomorrow.
Establish expectations from the beginning.
When you are welcoming a new roommate, you should discuss expectations immediately. For example, discuss quiet times, schedules, ground rules for parties, cleanliness, relationships, etc. By having these conversations out in the open from the beginning, there should be very little confusion about what you each expect from one another.
Invite your roommate out with you.
Keep your common areas clean.
If you’re living in a room all by yourself, being messy will not be much of a problem, but if you have a roommate, it will definitely be a problem since you are sharing a space with somebody else. Make sure that you are able to keep your common places clean all the time. This will make your place more comfortable and relaxing to live in.
Never eat your roommate’s food.
Just because you buy groceries together does not necessarily mean that you jointly own all the provisions. You have to have your own supply of food and respect your roommate’s supply of food. If you need to use some of your roommate’s items (such as sauces or seasonings), then ask before you take it. Make sure to be clear when a food item is just for you, that way you eliminate the risk of someone mistakenly using it, possible thinking it was an item purchased for both of you.
Split chores fairly.
If you have roommates, splitting chores is a given. One thing you should be careful about is that you allocate chores fairly. In other words, one roommate should not have the majority of chores to do. The best thing to do when allocating chores is to have a “Chores allocation meeting” where both of you come to an agreement as to what chore allocation ratio is fair.
Respect your roommate’s sleeping habits.
No matter how close you are with your roommate, you have to understand what is going on in their life and learn to accommodate them. For example, if they are busy studying for an exam, keep the volume of your music down; If they are going through some emotional difficulties, avoid having people over; etc. In order to be a good roommate, it’s important to remain aware and attentive to how your roommate is feeling and to plan house activities accordingly.
Learn to share.
Though respecting each other’s belongings is crucial in a roommate relationship, there is no harm in learning how to share your belongings with each other. Establish things like TVs, DVDs, or even food condiments, that may be used by anyone. It is also important to make it clear when an item of yours is just for you and not for everyone in the house. Be sure to do this in a clear but still friendly conversation.
Having a roommate agreement might help
Most of the things we’ve mentioned mainly involve open communication and talk. While talking and open communication is great, it doesn’t hurt to have some things in writing. It may seem petty or simple, but you never know. Also, having things in writing can make them easier to remember!
Designate a tenant-landlord liaison.
If you and your roommate are renting a space, dealing with a landlord is inevitable. This tip simply means that you should decide which one of you will do the job of reporting to the landlord in case you have issues, including maintenance and making payments. Having a liaison will eliminate any confusion that may result in no one contacting the landlord, or both of you contacting the landlord, which may come off as pestering.