How to Live with Roommates
Many of you may be currently attending post-secondary away from home, or on your way to do so. Whether you’re living in a student residence or have decided to sign a lease on the apartment, chances are you’re not going to be living alone.
A roommate is not just a great way to save on rent and groceries; in fact, many roommates eventually become very close friends. That said, sometimes it can be difficult to share a space with another person, especially if you’ve gotten used to your old habits. It’s certainly going to be different than living at home.
Firstly, don’t be fooled by the glamourized Friends-style dynamic—it’s likely that you and your roommate won’t be perfectly compatible. Their sleep schedule, eating habits, and daily routines in general can be completely different than what you’re used to. Moreover, your personalities may clash sometimes, which can lead to conflict over even the smallest issues. However, living with someone different than you can also help you realize how different people live their lives; it can be a positive learning exercise for the both of you.
Tip: Share your routines. Tell each other about when you go to bed at night, what your class schedule is like, and whether you like crunchy or smooth peanut butter. If you’re clear with one another, you might be able to find some common ground.
Moreover, living with a roommate can mean that your privacy is limited. Not only are you sharing a space, all of your stuff is in there with you! Some roommates are perfectly fine with sharing everything (lending one another clothes, spotting each other money for pizza, etc.). Many roommates share a bedroom without being bothered. But if you really like your privacy or you’re used to being on your own, this can be a difficult transition.
Tip: Set ground rules. Maybe you aren’t comfortable if your roommate borrows something without asking you first, but if you didn’t make that clear to them, they might not think they’re doing anything wrong. It also helps to let one another know if you want the apartment to yourself or if you want to be left in peace one day (e.g. studying for finals).
Finally, considering that your apartment needs upkeep, you have to pull your weight. You’re probably used to doing chores at home, but living on your own is a totally different level of responsibility. You and your roommate are going to need to clean, shop for groceries, do laundry, and pay bills, among other things. If you have a roommate who tends to slack off—or you are the roommate who slacks off—things can get annoying, fast.
Tip: Split and schedule. There is a lot to do, but you don’t have to do it by yourself! Create a chore list and commit yourselves to following through on your particular duties. You can also change it up every couple of weeks if it gets boring (you do laundry this week, and dishes next week).