How to be a great roommate
Sharing an apartment? Living with roommates isn't always a bed of roses. Here's how to be the best roommate you can be and enjoy your shared space to the fullest.
Be friendly and make time to connect
The best way to be a great roommate is to make an effort to connect and bond with your roommate(s). Instead of being like two ships passing in the night, extend an olive branch by making conversation when your paths cross and make an effort to get to know your roommate. You might discover that you share common interests and potentially become friends -- though you don't have to be good friends to live together well.
Respect and courtesy count for a lot in any living situation. Be respectful of your roommate by being mindful of your at-home behaviour. You can do this by putting yourself in their shoes. Would you like coming home to a messy apartment? Would you like being kept awake by late night loud music or television? Would you like having aggressive interactions in your home? Chances are neither will your roommate. Adopt these simple habits to be a dream roommate:
Clean up after yourself before you leave a room -- especially a common room in your apartment.
Keep your noise level low past 11 pm and/or use headphones.
Host any late night visitors in your room, not in common areas of your apartment, and be mindful of your noise level if your roommate is sleeping.
Be polite during all interactions with your roommate.
Let your roommate know in advance if you will have company over.
Be mindful of your time spent in common areas like the bathroom. No one wants to wait for ages to use the bathroom.
Create house rules or a code of conduct
You and your roommate may benefit from establishing some house rules or a code of conduct. By sticking to it, you and your roommate can show each other respect and will likely enjoy living together more.
Rules or a code of conduct can help you avoid unpleasant interactions and cover a lot of ground -- from how to navigate visitors to who's responsible for what household chores and tasks on what timeline. Things you may want to include in your rules or code are:
Petiquette (if you have pets) standards like who feeds the house pet(s) or walks them etc.
Noise guidelines (what noise level is acceptable at what time of day)
Food sharing (which items are shared, which are not etc.)
Cooking schedule (if it is a shared responsibility)
Cleaning schedule and distribution of tasks
Visitor guidelines (such as how many visitors are acceptable at one time and on what days and at what times of day etc.)
As much as you and your roommate may lead separate lives, your at-home habits and behaviour make an impact. Instead of living like strangers, work together to make your apartment feel like a shared home. This doesn’t have to happen all the time, but once in a while it can be nice to cook for your roommate, divide and conquer household cleaning tasks, share plant care and pet responsibilities etc.
Pay your bills on time
Unpaid debts are stress inducing. In a shared living situation, paying your rent and other apartment-related bills on time impacts you and your roommate. If you fail to pay bills on time, your roommate may attempt to cover your costs to avoid facing eviction, service disruption and credit implications. Do everything you can to pay your bills on time. If you cannot pay out of your own pocket, reach out to family and friends for support rather than putting the pressure to pay the bills on your roommate. If you cannot make rent or pay your bills, consider temporarily subletting your room to someone who can and moving in with family and/or friends until your financial stability is restored.
Share common areas equally
It can be tempting to fill shared spaces in your apartment with personal belongings. Remember that areas like the bathroom, kitchen, living room and balcony are shared and not solely your domain. Be mindful of how much space you leave for your roommate's belongings in these areas. Common areas of your apartment should be shared 50/50 to ensure both of you are equally represented.
We hope these tips help you be the best roommate you can be and enjoy your shared space to the fullest!