July 28th, 2017
Sure, they lighten the load when it comes to monthly living expenses, but living with roommates can be difficult. With different schedules, different living, cleaning, and eating habits, and different (sometimes conflicting) personalities, having roommates can be a household chore unto itself. On the other hand, roommates can provide opportunities for fun and friendship not always available to those who live alone. In fact, many consider their roommates among their very closest friends. So, in the interest of sharing common ground, and not just an apartment for rent, here are 3 tips to make living with roommates more enjoyable.
First things first, in order to lay a proper foundation for the fun to come, it’s a good idea to exercise a little foresight, and prevent any potential problems before they arise. And, that means establishing specific, unbreakable, binding, non-transferable ground rules. OK, so that may be going a bit overboard. Every roommate deserves to make an occasional mistake (see tip 3), but the principle remains poignant: if everyone follows a few simple, agreed-upon rules of respect, roommate life will be a lot more fun in the long run.
Sit down with your roommates and discuss everything from schedules to sleeping habits and sensitivities. Establish a policy on dirty dishes, dirty bathrooms, and other shared areas. Identify specific household tasks, and, if necessary, set up a chore chart. It’s also probably a good idea to come up with a consistent way to pay monthly rent and utilities, because nothing kills fun faster than a roommate who fails to pull her fair share. Post your rules on a wall, if you will, but be sure to do your part in obeying and enforcing them (in a respectful way, of course). They’ll save arguments, awkwardness, and quite possibly friendships, in the end.
Now that the particulars out of the way, it’s time to focus on the fun, and that means shared, roommate bonding experiences. Many apartments have amenities that facilitate fun. Whether it’s a swimming pool, a gym, a yoga class, or an outdoor barbecue, find ways to spend time with your roommates in a relaxed, friendly, engaging atmosphere. And, if you need to spend time away from home sweet home, plan activities that include every roommate. Go to the ballgame, walk around the mall, grab some dinner together. The more time you spend doing things that don’t require work, the more enjoyable your roommate experience will become.
Alright, it’s easy enough to find fun things to do, especially if you live in the right area, but it’s not always as easy to be a flexible and respectful roommate. If you have a roommate who has a different definition of fun, be flexible enough to indulge a different activity now and again. Expand your horizons and try something new, then introduce your roommates to something that’s uniquely you.
If flexibility is an important part of fun, respect is paramount. Be respectful of space, property, and personal feelings, especially in and around your apartment. Remember to do your part when it comes to household responsibilities, but be forgiving when your roommate forgets to take out the trash, for example. In other words, don’t’ always be a stickler. You may feel entitled to call out an offending roommate, especially if he’s broken one too many rules, but a roommate without patience is quite often the one that’s causing the problems in the first place. That’s not to say rules shouldn’t be followed, but rules also required a healthy amount of mercy. Roommate life is always more enjoyable when you’re allowed to make an occasional mistake, right? And, besides, a roommate who feeds off of drama is no fun to be around, and fun is what we’re going for, after all.
There you have it. Three tips to make roommate life more enjoyable. Establish ground rules, take time to have fun, and be flexible and respectful. They’re easier said than done, but making a conscious, communal effort can lead to lasting friendships and healthy, happy roommate relationships.