For most post-grads, living with a roommate (or roommates) is a sensible and financially sound decision. It helps give you a break on rent and utilities, while (ideally) providing a friendship to support you.
At the moment, I have two roommates and I love them both dearly. There’s always someone to listen to me rant about work, help me when I lock myself out, or eat the rest of the guacamole that I made too much of. Not to mention having extra wardrobes to raid!
But it’s not always late night talks and ice cream runs.
There is, more often than not, tension when it comes to whose turn it is to take out the trash. We seem to take turns “forgetting” about the dirty dishes in the sink. And, now that I think about it, I thought I had a jar of Nutella in this cabinet?
Here are some pointers that I’ve found to make life with a roommate, or roommates, easier on all involved:
- Be upfront
- About money, about the dirty dishes that are still in the sink, about what food in the fridge you would rather not share. It’ll save a lot of frustration later.
- Be gracious
- Take a note out of Lady Bird’s book. “Didn’t you ever go to sleep without putting all your clothes away perfectly? Like even once?”
- Sometimes you’re too tired to wash the dishes, or forget to take your clothes out of the dryer. A little grace can go a long way.
- Choose wisely
- In college, you’re barely ever in your room. Everyone you need is nearby, so it’s fine if you and your roommate aren’t BFFs.
- When you’re an adult, your home is your safe space. To not feel comfortable there would be a nightmare. Make sure you vet the personalities you’re thinking of living with.
- Compromise is a must
- I’ve noticed that, for us, our differences are most evident when we’re trying to decorate. But it can carry over to how you communicate, how you handle having guests over, and the thermostat temperature.
- Find something to share
- Whether it’s a meal, a hobby, or a TV show- find something that you can bond over. It’s about building trust and community, in addition to your shared living space.
- Know that you don’t have to share everything
- You’re allowed to have your own space, your own food, and your own stuff. Just give your roommate a heads up if you’re saving something in the fridge, or put your things in your room if you’d rather them not be up for grabs.
- Keep communal spaces clean
- I try not to leave too many personal items out & about. If putting something away will take less than a minute- just do it as soon as you think of it!
- You’re not stuck
- You can move, find a new roommate, or switch apartments if something isn’t working out (depending on your specific lease situation). Don’t feel like you have to keep living in a situation that is not good for you.
Everyone’s living situation is SO different. You may be living with a friend of a friend, or someone you’ve known most of your life. A dream apartment may find you, or you may settle for somewhere because it’s a great deal.
Building a life for yourself isn’t always easy, but it’s always your call.