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10 Tips for Living with a Roommate

Two roommates are pictured talking in a UW dorm room
Living with someone new can be a fun way to get outside of your comfort zone and make new friends.

Living with someone new can be tough! I’ve been there several times in my journey through college, but I’ve also made some of my best friends who also happened to be my roommates. It’s not always easy adjusting to a new life away from home, and sometimes we get on one another’s nerves. I have found that these tips can lead to healthy relationships that can blossom into livelong friends. Here are my top 10 tips for living with a roommate.

1. Get to know them

This is an important part of moving in with a new person. Get to know who you’ll be living with. Find out if you share any common interests or hobbies and go from there! Your roommate may not turn out to be your new best friend, but this is someone you’re going to be around a lot, so get to know them!


2. Communicate

Communication is key when moving in with someone new. You could be moving in with a close friend, but there’s a good chance that you are moving in with a roommate who was randomly assigned. Communicate anything that your roommate should know about you. Communication is also important when any issues may arise. If something is bothering you, let them know before it grows into a larger conflict.


3. Set boundaries

Everyone has their own set of personal boundaries. Discuss whether you are comfortable sharing things like food, appliances, etc. Try to keep your belongings in your area and don’t touch their belongings unless you have permission!


4. Share responsibilities

Sharing responsibilities around your shared space is an important part of having a roommate. This could mean creating a chore chart to decide who is taking out the trash or vacuuming each week, but chore charts aren’t for everyone. What’s most important is ensuring that you and your roommate are both pulling weight to keep your space clean and organized.


5. Become familiar with your roommate’s schedule  

One of the first things you should do after you’ve moved in with someone new is to become familiar with their schedule. This is especially important regarding sleep schedules. Your roommate isn’t going to be your biggest fan if they go to bed at 9 p.m. and you stay up until 3 a.m. doing homework with the light on every night. Find a schedule that works for both of you!

Pair of friends sitting in Prexy's

6. Keep an open mind

Realizing that other people come from different backgrounds and were raised differently will likely save you a lot of frustration in the long run. Understand that your roommate’s habits may not be exactly the same as your own, so try to find a way to meet in the middle if your differences are causing a conflict.


7. Be considerate

This tip is a bit generalized, but it’s a good rule to follow when moving in with someone new. Check with your roommate to see if it’s all right if you have someone over. Don’t take their food without asking permission first. In summary, be mindful that you are sharing a space with another person and take their feelings into consideration before making decisions!


8. Wear headphones

Even if you and your roommate have similar taste in music, shows and movies, that doesn’t mean that they constantly want to hear whatever you’re watching or listening to. Invest in some headphones and wear them whenever you listen to music or watch a show.


9. Give them some space

Personal space can become a huge issue in with roommates. Transitioning to a less spacious living arrangement can be tough and having to share your space with another person can make it even tougher. Let your roommate have a few hours in the room to themselves each week and hopefully they will do the same for you.


10. Be friendly

Even if you and your roommate don’t become best friends, you should still be friendly toward each other at all times! Your interactions and room environment will be positively affected as a result. When in doubt, follow the Golden Rule and treat them like you would want to be treated.

Two friends talking and lauging at UW

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