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The Best Ways to Keep Peace with Your Roommates

We all need that one place in our lives where we go to relax at the end of a long day. For many college students, that place is an apartment/dorm/suite that is shared with other students. Living with roommates should not disturb the relaxing ambiance of your living space, but let’s be honest: sometimes it does. Having lived with 6 different people myself throughout my short time at Drexel University, I have come up with the best ways to keep the peace with your roommates.

  1. 1. Establish Rules Early On

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    It’s better to discuss rules early on before annoying habits form and it's too late. Get together with your roommates and consider some important factors like noise levels, cleaning, guests, and sharing things. How often will we take out the trash? How often should the dishes be washed? How late should guests stay over? What temperature should the place be set to?

  2. 2. Consistent Communication

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    Is your roommate doing something that is bothering you? Tell them! I have found that face to face communication is the best way to confront a roommate about a problem without coming off the wrong way. But if you’re too busy to talk in person, a simple and clear text to the roommate/roommate group chat will do. 

    If you keep quiet, not only will your roommate continue doing what bothers you, but you will also start to harbor negative feelings inside which could affect the relationship between you and your roomies. Some things to avoid doing are leaving passive aggressive sticky notes or starting to act overly cold and mean towards them, which actually leads to my next piece of advice.

  3. 3. Keep It Civil

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    If you want your roommates to respect you and listen to your concerns, then it's a good idea to consider being nice to them. Nothing over the top, just a simple “Hi” when you see them and a simple “Bye” when you leave. Maybe ask them how their day went every once in a while. Keep the dinner table clean after you use it so that they can eat on a clean surface. It’s the little acts of kindness that make living with your roommates all the more peaceful.

  4. 4. Be Open To Negotiation

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    Try not to forget that you are sharing a space with another person/other people. Most of the time you’ll find yourself living with others who don't share the same living style as you. So be open to tweaking your living style a little bit to accommodate theirs, and vice versa! Both/all parties need to consider the other’s living preferences.  Let’s say roommate A likes to wake up at 8 am every day while roommate B goes to bed around 4 am most nights. Roommate B should try to keep quiet while returning to the room at 4 am, and roommate A should try to get ready quietly in the morning. Let’s also say that during the winter, roommate A likes the temperature at 68°F while roommate B prefers the toastiness of 76°F. So you talk together and decide to keep it at 72°.

  5. 5. Do Something Fun Together

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    If all is going smoothly, it won’t hurt to try doing something fun with your roommates. Who knows, it could strengthen your relationship and/or lead to a possible friendship! Some activities to do together are: cooking, baking, watching movies, going out to lunch, exploring a new place or just simply having those late-night talks on the couch surrounded by snacks. It’s totally up to you and your roommates to decide.

By following these tips, hopefully, you will be able to peacefully share a living space with your roommates. With some respect and dedication, you can do it!