Roomies 101

Check out these five tips for a peaceful and pleasant roomie relationship.

Students are already hunting for the perfect place to call home for the 2015-16 school year. But more importantly, they are deciding with whom they are going to share that home.

The prospect of sharing your space with someone can be slightly daunting. Whether you’ve lived with roommates before or this is your first time, everyone has concerns about how they will get along, what the other people will be like and whether they will do their part. Even close friends who are planning on living together wonder whether or not they will drive each other insane.

However, there are some things that you can do to ease the transition and help yourself and your roommates have a fantastic year.

Tip #1: Establish ground rules and boundaries early on.

It is important that you and your roommates establish rules at the beginning of your time together. That way you can prevent conflicts before they happen.

These rules might range from setting study hours, during which all roommates are expected to be quiet, to establishing which items can be shared and which are personal.

When conflicts do arise (and let’s face it, they will), you will have some agreements in place that can help solve the problem.

Tip #2: Speak up for yourself (but politely).

While living with roommates, something is bound to happen that gets on your nerves. When this happens, make sure to tell your roommates what the issue is.

Of course, when dealing with them, be polite and discuss the situation calmly. Try to come up with a solution to the problem that everyone can live with. Hint: This may require compromise.

Communication is key, though! As much as you may want them to, your roommates can’t read your mind. If you have a problem, you have to tell them. This way you can avoid harboring resentment or anger toward them for the rest of the year.

Tip #3: Be accommodating, but not a pushover.

On the other hand, there will be moments when you are on the other side of the problem described in the tip above.

There will be times when one of your roommates is annoyed with you. Your roommates also may ask you to do something, lend them something or otherwise go out of your way for them.

When this occurs, it is important that you are accommodating in trying to fix the problem or be helpful. Otherwise, they will likely get frustrated or annoyed, creating tension that makes living together a nightmare.

However, it is also imperative that you are not a pushover. Make sure that you stand up for your right to the space in addition to trying to look out for theirs.

Tip #4: Decide how responsibilities will be dealt out and hold each other accountable.

Everyone knows at least one person who does whatever he or she can to get out of doing their chores or completing their responsibilities. Don’t let yourself or your roommates be that person.

Set up a plan for how chores like dishes, trash and vacuuming will get accomplished. One potential method would be a chore chart.

Once you have this set, make sure that you and your roommates stick to it. Otherwise, there may be someone who doesn’t do his or her part and someone who gets stuck doing whatever doesn’t get done.

Tip #5: Get to know each other.

Perhaps most important to your roommate relationship is getting to know each other.

You don’t have to be really good friends. But you will be living together for at least a year, so you might as well get used to each other.

If you are already friends, learn more about each other and take time to build a stronger relationship. Chances are, a lot of the friends you meet in college will be your friends for the rest of your life.

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