The experience of living with roommates in college can be a lot of fun—but it can also come with qualms if ground rules aren’t established. Communicating with your roommates, suitemates or housemates is absolutely essential to cultivating a positive environment for all to live in. There are a few simple areas to cover, so start by addressing the following and work for something you can all agree on!
Decide if food is to be shared without asking. (This can also apply to clothes, laundry supplies, accessories, and more.) If certain food items are for everyone, place them in a certain spot so everyone knows for sure.
Hair in the drain?
In a corridor style dorm, bathrooms are cleaned daily, and in a suite, they are cleaned weekly, so an effort should be made to keep the bathroom as clean as possible. You and your roommates should all vow to take your hair out of the shower and not let it lay in the drain. No one likes picking up other people’s hair.
Taking out garbage?
A good rule for garbage is to take it out as soon as you notice it’s full. If one person continuously has to do it, it may not be fair to them. Sharing a space is about being aware of the state of the room and being aware of other people’s actions.
If you are trying to study in your room and your roommate is on the phone or watching a show without headphones, it can be majorly distracting. Set up a rule to always use headphones unless watching something together and take long phone calls outside the room. Also, just communicate with your roommate and ask if they can accommodate you.
If you have an allergy, make sure your roommates know not to have the allergen around you. Assure them that your situation must be taken seriously.
Cleaning the common areas?
Lay out a schedule for who cleans what and when to avoid a messy shared space.
Remember that you may not be best friends with your roommate, but you still have to be nice. It may feel like there is pressure when living with someone, but if you follow the golden rule—treat others as you want to be treated—your arrangement should turn out fine. Try not to be passive-aggressive when addressing an issue but communicate in a way that expresses your feelings and takes theirs into account. Overall, behave respectfully towards those you live with, clean up after yourself, and be the roommate you would want to have.