Tips for Harmonious Living

How to have a smooth-sailing roommate situation

WRITTEN BY: Jamie Ballard

Most students at some point or another live with roommates during their college years. Since you’re spending so much time with these people, it’s important to do your best to create a happy and healthy living situation for everyone.

Communicate. This is probably the most important one, and I’d go so far as to say 90 percent of roommate disagreements could be solved with better communication. If something’s bothering you, then politely speak up. It’s far better for you to honestly say “Hey, would you mind using headphones if you’re listening to music after 11? I have early classes. Thanks!” instead of silently letting tension build up and eventually boil over.

Be considerate. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s also important. Every person has little household habits that matter to them, and you should try to reasonably accommodate them. Things like letting the bathroom mat dry over the side of the tub, or leaving a window open might not even cross your radar. But if they matter to your roommate, you might as well make the living situation better for everyone and just go with it. They should extend the same courtesy to you.

Respect their boundaries, and make sure they respect yours. Some people have no problem sharing clothes or food with one another. Others are particular about their habits or possessions, and prefer to keep them separate. Neither way is right or wrong, but all approaches have to be considered and respected. This goes for social interaction too. Some people need ‘alone time’ to just relax and not interact with anyone, and that should be respected. Similarly, people who are more extroverted should feel comfortable expressing their feelings as well.

Establish expectations early. Talk about things like having overnight guests and the distribution of household chores before they become an issue. That way, no one is taken by surprise or feels like their concerns weren’t addressed when a situation does arise.

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