Living on your own doesn’t just mean doing your own cooking. You will also have to learn to get along well with your roommates. A common source of conflict is the cleaning: people often have different definitions of what it means to keep a house neat and tidy. The key is to discuss these things ahead of time and agree on a set of basic rules.
We suggest you schedule a weekly or monthly meeting with your roommates to discuss the different issues that may come up. Agenda items for the meeting could include:
- Who does the cleaning and how often – The cleaning should be done once a week; you could divvy up the tasks or rotate responsibilities.
- Sharing the fridge – A common solution is for each person to have his or her own shelf in the fridge; alternatively, each of you could put your name on the things you buy. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day and finding that the food you’d planned on eating is all gone. Nip those conflicts in the bud.
- Visitors – Set rules on whether and how often roommates can bring friends over and potentially have them stay the night.
- Noise – When is it time to study, and when can you party? Decide together on a common set of rules.
You might want to plan to have dinner together after the meeting so you can end the discussion on a relaxed note.
The golden rule is to always be respectful of your roommates. Don’t do to them what you wouldn’t want done to you. Put the meetings you’ve scheduled into your planner and don’t back out at the last minute. State your needs clearly and listen to the needs of others; things that don’t seem important to you may in fact be important to someone else. This is also a good lesson in respecting different viewpoints. Living with roommates can be a fantastic experience, just as it can be a painful one. To help make sure it’s the former, behave responsibly and keep the lines of communication open.