October 19, 2022

Tips for Living with a Roommate: Part Two

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Welcome to the second part of our blog on living with a roommate! If you haven’t had the chance to read the first part, feel free to do so now or after reading this one. We think you’ll find some valuable tips in there, too. Today we’re going to offer a few more tips on making your shared living experience as positive and trouble-free as possible. Don’t forget to check out our website to find the perfect place to put these tips into practice with your new roomie!

4. Exchange Emergency Information

Nobody likes to think about it, but there’s always the chance of a health emergency or issue of some other kind where your roommate may need to be able to contact those most important to you. Maybe to make them aware of an injury or illness, maybe because they notice they haven’t seen you in a couple of days and want to ensure things are OK, there are so many possible scenarios where you would want someone to be able to contact your loved ones. Make sure that your roommate is equipped to help you by reaching out to your emergency contacts. It’s a great idea to leave that information somewhere easily found, like on the fridge or even as a saved contact in one another’s phones under “Roommate Emergency Contact” or whatever works best for you!

5. Careful moving in with new romantic partners or your best friends

When I was about ten years old, I remember imagining my ideal future. Part of that vision included living with my best friend Firhan in a giant mansion. I couldn’t imagine anything better than moving in with my best friend: we totally “got” each other, we trusted one another, and we loved all of the same things. It was a bromance made in heaven! Then we shared a locker in grade 7, and I realized that Firhan was much cleaner than I was when it came to maintaining our locker.

Even at that early age, I realized maybe living together with your bestie is a way to wreck a great friendship, not level it up. Firhan and I are still friends decades later, and I like to think part of that is because we didn’t become roommates. Recognize that by moving in with your best friend, the kinds of things which never become issues in your day-to-day friendship will becomes dealbreakers of your day-to-day life.

The same things are even truer about new relationships. Too frequently we see couples who have been together only a very short time move-in together, and all of a sudden, the romance starts to fade as love is replaced by conflict and resentment. In many cases, these folks end up having to break their lease early and end up paying expensive lease-break fees. Love is wonderful, and we love romance, but it’s a good idea to really get to know one another before making the large financial decision to live together.

6. Set boundaries, and respect one another’s finances

Setting some boundaries is important to ensuring you both enjoy your home with a minimum of issues. One part of setting boundaries includes the list of “shareables” like which food is shared and which is not that we suggested in the last blog. Even beyond that, though, it’s important to also set boundaries on use of the shared space itself.

Here are some excellent tips shared by Roomshare, and pay close attention to tip six!

1. Steer clear of “taking turns” with chores. Instead, assign one roommate to each part of the household that’s important to keep clean.
2. Make a “quiet pact.” Regardless of whether or not you’re a light sleeper, you and your roommates should decide on “quiet times.”
3. Agree to call each other out without having to get personal.
4. Don’t feel like you have to be friends just because you live together. Avoid “forcing” a friendship.
5. Establish boundaries for the shared spaces – refrigerator, pantry, cabinets, living room, and shared bathrooms.
6. Significant others aren’t guaranteed a place to shack up just because they’re a significant other.
7. Set clear expectations for locking the door, shutting windows, etc.
8. Participate in roommate activities when you want to, not every single time you’re invited.
9. Talk about how you’ll pay bills, including deadlines

In fact, that last tip leads us to our final point: respect one another’s finances. This means paying your bills on time, having deadlines set and consequences laid out for late payments, but it also means the less-obvious things. For example, it doesn’t matter if your income is $2,000/month and your roommate earns $10,000/month, you are still required to pay your bills on time and have no right to expect that your higher-earning roommate will cover bills for you. Everyone has their own private financial reality, and what you see may not tell the whole story. Even if they have lots of spending money and you feel they waste it, it’s none of your business unless it impacts your living agreement and you aren’t entitled to a cent of it. If you can’t live up to your agreement, it’s your problem, not your roommate’s.

We hope you’ve found some useful tips in this blog to avoid running into a bad situation. While we spent our time here talking about the risks and things to avoid, it’s important to note that by following these rules and ensuring a good fit before moving in, you could end up having one of the best experiences of your life!

What’s your worst or best roommate experience? Tell us in the comments!