Everyone has roommate horror stories and if we don’t have them ourselves, we know someone who does. Unfortunately, for many young people, roommates aren’t just something we experience for a few years in college. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to have roommates well into their late 20s or early 30s.
Since roommates seem to be something we are stuck with, the least we can do is learn how to deal with the more difficult ones.
Create a roommate contract
When you first move in with a new roommate, take some time to create a roommate contract. In the contract, create some basic ground rules that all roommates have to follow, like whether or not you’re allowed to have friends over on weeknights and, if so, how late they can say.
If someone breaks one of the rules, you can also lay out exactly how you’ll handle the conflict.
Make a chores list
Deciding whose turn it is to do the dishes, run the vacuum, take out the trash, and clean out the refrigerator can take a lot of time–and arguing–when it’s being done in the moment. No one wants to wash the dishes once they’re overflowing in the sink.
Get rid of this problem before it starts by creating a weekly or monthly chores list. Keeping this list organized and in a place everyone can check it will not only ensure that everyone knows what their tasks are and that the chores will get done, but it also holds people accountable when they shirk their duties.
Host house meetings
Having weekly or monthly house meetings can give everyone living together the opportunity to sit together and talk about anything that may be happening in the house. This can be when you create the weekly chores list or talk about who is restocking the coffee and toilet paper that week.
Roommates can also use this opportunity to air any grievances they may have. For example, if someone broke a rule in the roommate contract, this could be the time it is brought up and discussed.
House meeting don’t have to be a dreaded event. It can be done over a group dinner or even a game night in order to make the atmosphere a little more relaxed and give everyone the opportunity to bond. This can be especially important if not everyone living in the house or apartment are friends.
Maintain open communication
The most important way to create and maintain a healthy roommate relationship is by having open communication. If a roommate does something that hurts someone else’s feelings or breaks a rule, make sure to speak up. Keeping feelings bottled inside or playing passive aggressive games will only escalate the situation.
You can only improve negative circumstances by talking about what needs to change.