Avoid Roommate Drama

Roommate disaster stories are the norm throughout college. But they don’t have to be. Most of the core issues of failed roommate chemistry involve communication, or rather, a lack thereof. Whether you are moving in with a complete stranger(s) or shacking up with your best friend in a dorm or college apartment, it’s best to lay down ground rules openly and directly to avoid all possible problems in the future. Be assured that problems will arise if you do not do this. And don’t ever think for one moment that because you are moving in with your best friend that you two are the exception.

The first thing to do is to get with your new roomie and discuss who will be contributing what to the household or dorm. While bringing your own personal mini fridge and flat screen TV might seem like a great idea, dorm rooms are tiny, and you’ll want to have as much floor space as possible. Also, it doesn’t make sense to have two toasters and two microwave ovens in an apartment for the same reason. Discuss these things with your roommate to avoid duplicates. Also, if both parties contribute to the household equally, no one will feel as if they hold a special entitlement to the living quarters because most of the items in the apartment or dorm belongs to solely one person.

You also need to talk about the concept of sharing. While some are more than willing to share anything from food to clothes, some like to keep things separate. There can be a number of reasons sharing is not encouraged, from buying specialty foods because you’re a vegetarian to you just wanting to stray away from any confusion. Whatever the case, you need to be honest about your sharing policies so that there can be a solid understanding of boundaries to prevent any built up resentment that may occur down the line.

Another topic to discuss is chores. Usually, there is one super messy roommate and one really clean roommate. No matter which one you happen to be, it’s best to divide duties during the first few days. Maybe you’d prefer to set schedules where you and your roommate alternate who takes out the trash and washes the dishes. Or, if you live an apartment, maybe you’d like to alternate who keeps the bathroom and common living area clean. Whatever the case, this topic needs to be addressed.

Lastly, you need to address the issue of overnight guests. Would you like for your roommate to give you a heads up a few days in advance? No matter what sex or what the relationship that a guest may have to your roommate, i.e. boyfriend, girlfriend, family member or friend, you need to discuss protocol for these situations and circumstances.

It’s important to remember that living with a stranger does not have to be an unpleasant experience, so truly try to get to know your roommate. Who knows, you could end up making a life-long friend.

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