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Column: How to be a good roommate

Living away from home is hard, and having to share your space with a stranger on top of that may seem scary. 

However, living with a roommate isn’t all that bad, especially if you play your part. 

Here are just a few tips on how to live with a roommate. 

  1. Establish boundaries

Putting boundaries in place when you first start living with a roommate is one of the best things you can do.  

Maybe a significant other is coming over too much, or one person is taking all the storage space. These are problems that can be solved with the simple discussion of boundaries. 

Sit down with your roommate and come up with a solution before a problem becomes major.  

Do you want to share food? Is it okay if friends come hang out in your room? Is it all right if you go in each other’s rooms? These are just a few of the questions you may need to answer when living with a roommate. 

  1. Play your part

No one wants to do anything alone, especially when a space is shared.  

If your roommate takes out the trash one weekend, you do it the next weekend. If the toilet paper is running low, take turns buying more. If your roommate cleans the shower, you clean the toilet or sink.  

Taking care of shared areas is important when living with other people to avoid any tension. 

  1. Be honest and speak up

People don’t like uncomfortable situations. However, putting yourself into one may be the only way to solve a problem between you and your roommate. 

If you are uncomfortable with something your roommate is doing, don’t just sit through it. Be open about what is bothering you and talk through solutions that make both of you happy. 

Remember to listen to each other. A problem will only repeat if someone is stuck in their feelings, and having an open discussion may be the only thing you can do to fix it even with the awkwardness. 

  1. Come up with a schedule

You have class at 9 a.m. Your roommate stays up until 2 a.m.  

Coming up with a schedule is important when living with other people. Discuss when you both go to bed wake up, or when you will be in from classes or have to go to work. 

Try to work times around each other so no one is kept up all night or walked in on while changing.  

Coming up with a schedule to avoid stressful situations is a great way to avoid issues with your roommate down the road. 

  1. Talk to your RA if a problem persists

Sometimes a mediator may be necessary to solve a problem. This is where Resident Assistants come in. 

If you live on campus, talk to your RA about any problems you may be having with your roommate if you can’t solve the problem together. They will be able to help you both work through the problem calmly and rationally.  

Written by Bailey Storey. Photo courtesy of Valdosta State University.

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