You may have heard tons of horror stories with roommates playing the “bad guys” part. And most of them are probably true as we are very complex characters and we’re not all compatible when it comes to sharing personal space. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good examples, with great relationships that evolved into lifetime friendships. Here are a few tips to guide you to a happy co-existence.
Bring out your inquisitive skills. People can be deceiving. They may seem the nicest person in the world and after you sign the lease you end up sharing space with the roommate from hell. When you start to interview candidates, make sure you ask a lot of questions. And look them up on Facebook or Twitter. People tend to share so much these days that you might even find what they had for breakfast. A thorough background check might save you a lot of headaches later on.
Be straight from the start. It’s very important to lay down the rules from the beginning, talk about how you split rent, utility bills and other common expenses and how you plan dealing with household chores. Compatibility in the cleanliness department is a key factor that may affect your entire relationship.
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Address issues when they’re little. Eliza Theiss, 24, has shared living space with roommates all her student life. At first because she needed to share expenses but then she really loved their company. “To build a happy relationship you need to keep an open mind and be respectful”, she says. “And most importantly try to maintain an open dialogue about things so they don’t build up and fester.”
Speak your mind . . . but not too loud and listen, too. When living with someone it’s only natural that some of the things they do get on your nerves a bit…or a lot. Even an empty milk carton left in the refrigerator can spark a desire to shout at your roomie. But rest assured, that won’t do you any good. Find a peaceful way to express your feelings, listen to your roommate’s side of the story as well and give them a chance to improve. Hopefully, next time you’ll fill the trash and forget to take it out yourself, you’ll receive the same treatment from your roommate.
Don’t forget to do the dishes! You’d be surprised to know how often dirty dishes are cited as the reason behind roommate disputes. Instead of leaving nasty notes, let it slide once…or twice. It’s not the end of the world. Just don’t allow it to become a recurring habit.
With the right approach, you can have an excellent time being a roommate.