Living With Your Roommate
A Guide To Living Peacefully With A New College Roommate - Written By Chris Saunders
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Living with your Roommate…
Set the rules before you move in!
By Chris Saunders
Communication is the key to any successful living situation. Spending as much time as you will with your roommate is not an easy task. There will be times when you need to be alone; times when you'll want some quiet time and times when you want to invite friends over.
In any situation, make sure you talk to your roommate to let him or her know what you need. If you need time to study, ask if it's okay to turn down the stereo. Don't assume that your roommate can read your mind.
Your happiness in your living environment is directly related to your relationship with your roommates. Running into personal problems with roommates will stress you out.
Picking the right roommate is extremely important to your well being. Remember that friends are not always the best roommates. Friends make take advantage of the situation by borrowing your CD's or tapes without asking, or they may not clean up their mess if they think you will clean it for them. If the roommate relation becomes strained, you may lose a friend as well as a roommate. Here are some tips on ensuring that you and your roommate have a quality living situation together:
Ø Always communicate concerns as soon as they happen. Let your roommate know what’s on your mind.
Ø Discuss study habits and the expected study environment. Will you have some sort of "quiet hours"?
Ø Establish phone rules. Again, don’t make the mistake of splitting the bill down the middle. Pay for only your calls and your half of the service.
Ø Make a cleaning agreement or contract, including sweeping, dusting, cleaning up messes, doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc.
Ø Agree on a food policy. Do you share the cost of food, or do you shop individually and have a "hands off" policy? Who ate my last slice of pizza?
Ø Establish drinking/smoking rules.
Ø Be careful that you and your roommates have the same idea of your relationship - are you looking for a best friend, someone to do things with on weekends, or just a roommate?
Ø Make sure both of your names are on the lease. You don’t want to get stuck with the monthly rent if he or she moves out on you.
Ø We strongly suggest that you do not pay your rent in cash. Even if your roommates are friends of yours, we highly suggest that you pay your rent with a check or money order. Whatever the case may be, think twice before handing over cash to your roommate. It is much more difficult to prove that you gave your roommate cash versus a check/money order.
Ø After you decide what is acceptable and what is not, sign a Roommate Contract with your roommates. This may seem impersonal, but it may prevent problems in the future. With a little foresight and common sense, roommate conflicts can be avoided.
If you talk your way through some of these important areas you and your roommate should be well on the way to a good relationship. Remember that none of us are perfect—including yourself— so don’t expect your roommate to do everything exactly the way that you would like them to. Enjoy the experience, and try to learn something from the unique individual that you live with—your roommate.
Written By Chris Saunders
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