I read lots of articles on living with roommates, many of which offer very useful advice for getting along. Here’s a list of my current 6 Top Tips for getting along with your roommates:
1) Make Sure The Important People Will Get Along
If you have friends who come over often, or adult children who visit you at home, or grandchildren who come over, it’s a good idea to acquaint them with your prospective roommate before the actual move-in. Sure, it’s your home, not theirs, and you can live with whom you please, but if your new roommate causes unexpected friction with the people who are important in your life, that could affect your relationships with them. Let everyone meet ahead of time.
2) Mine, Yours, and Ours
Doe a walk-through in your house with your proposed roommate before move-in. Discuss what areas will be shared, how privacy will be respected (“If my bedroom door is closed, that means I don’t want to be disturbed, unless the house is on fire!”), what belongings you do or do not plan to share. Ask too about personal belongings that your roommate plans to bring in. Will she want half the shelf space to display photos of her family? Would she rather use her big-screen TV in the living room than your modest-sized one?
3) Put It In Writing
I’ve said it before in past posts. When it comes to occupancy, seriously important habits, and finance, put everything in writing first. Move-in date, move-out date (if there is one), the amount of notice that must be given before ending the arrangement, smoking or not, overnight guests, who pays what bills and when – all of these should be specified in writing and signed by both of you.
4) Don’t Flinch About Money
If you’ve agreed on a security deposit and your roommate then wants to pay it in installments, say no. A promise of a security deposit is no security; you need the money up front. The same goes for paying bills you’re sharing or dividing. If your roommate fails to make payments in a timely fashion, don’t let her make it your problem. Insist that she must pay what was agreed, on time. Don’t let yourself become a lender.
5) Be “Openly Unreasonable”
If you have pet peeves that you know aren’t necessarily right or wrong – they’re just you, be open about it. Perhaps you can’t stand the use of air fresheners in your home; or you loathe waking up to even one dirty dish in the sink in the morning. State the habits and preferences that will affect your feeling of peace and order, and make sure your roommate can live with them. If you fail to do this ahead of time, you may find yourself constantly irked, or your roommate may feel that she’s being criticized for every little thing.
6) Check In With Each Other Regularly
Some roommates make it a practice to eat dinner together once a week. This allows them a time and a place to air problems, if there are any, before they fester. It’s also a good way to keep in touch with what’s going on in both of your lives, which can help you feel more attuned to your respective moods and needs.
It all boils down to open communication, being honest about your feelings, and setting up rules to live by in order to maintain harmony.