Whether you are in a college dorm, or are living in the city in your own apartment, you may need to learn to live with a roommate.
It’s practical, brings down rent, beats boredom and loneliness and can be downright fun. Here’s how to survive living with a roommate.
Choose your roommate carefully
If you have the option of choosing, find someone you think you can live with. Unless your roommate is assigned to you such as in a dorm, take the time to review the other person.
You will be living intimately with this person. See how comfortable you are. You must have at least some things in common.
Define your space
When your roommate moves it, be clear about what’s yours only and what’s ok for communal use. If there’s a hall closet, leave half of the space for your roomy.
Even refrigerator space may need to be defined, especially, if you have specific food items you’re not willing to share.
Work out a schedule
If you have one bathroom, you will need to be clear about when you can use it, especially to avoid the morning rush.
Discuss how you will split chores, such as who takes the trash out at the end of the day (days can be split odd and even days to be fair). If you have date night, work out some system when you can have privacy.
Be clear about division of labor and expenses
You’ll probably have to split the energy and water bill in half and of course, the rent, but be clear who pays for the landline, cable TV and other things you find yourselves sharing.
If the rent is in your name and you are subletting, get post dated checks from your roommate to avoid the hassle of asking for his share every month. If your roommate bails on rent, it’s your name on the lease.
It’s better to do more than your share than to mooch off your roommate. Clean communal areas whenever possible, without being asked. Keep the noise down at night, especially when you know your roommate is resting. Allow for privacy, so if his door is closed or locked, don’t knock.
Understand that just because you are roommates, doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time together. You have two separate lives that happen to live under the same roof.
You may offer to go to the movies with your roommate, but don’t expect to spend all nights together or that you’ll stay up late nights drinking and hanging out.
Be careful about dating your roommate’s friends
Your roommate may seem like an easy way to network for dates, but it’s not always a good idea. Resist the urge to ask your roommate’s friends out. If it doesn’t work out, you won’t be able to easily stop seeing them since you still have a link.
Your roommate’s loyalties may become divided if you and the friend end up bad. It’s the same as not dating your neighbors: you won’t be able to get rid of them once the relationship is over since you all still live in the same building.
Living with a roommate can actually be fun. Just like in any relationship, keep lines of communication open and be considerate.