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A Guide To Being A Good Roommate

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Living with other people can be hard. Sometimes very hard, but that doesn’t mean you are a difficult person. That doesn’t mean you are a problem.

Set Boundaries & Expectations

Set boundaries without trying to act like someone’s mother. It can be a challenge because everyone has different things that bother them or gross them out. However, try to make these preferences clear to your roommates from the beginning so they don’t seem malicious or out of the blue. If you suddenly decide you don’t like how everyone leaves dishes in the sink, your roommates may believe you are having underlying problems with them, when in reality, the dishes are the genuine problem. 

Understand Common Courtesies

There are a few things that are just common courtesy. If your hair is in the drain after a shower, take it out, no one wants to touch your wet hair. If a new roll of toilet paper needs to be put in the bathroom, do it right away, no one wants to be stuck on the toilet and realize there is no toilet paper. If you notice the house needs to be vacuumed, do it, but make sure you aren’t the only one ever doing it because that can be draining. If the trash is full, take it out and put a new trash bag in, no one likes dealing with overflowing trash. Things like these are essential for all roommates to do from the beginning to make life a little easier for one another.

Communication is Essential

Approaching things can be awkward. You don’t want to seem like you are controlling or overly aggressive. If you don’t like confrontation, try sending a nice, but straightforward text. If you prefer in-person conversation, make sure your tone is more relaxed so it doesn’t seem like you have rude intentions. Maybe even make jokes about it, but be careful with this since it can sometimes come off as being passive-aggressive. Nobody wants to be told that something they are doing is gross, but the truth is, we all do things here and there that another person might find borderline disgusting, so don’t get worked up. 

Prioritize Bonding

This one might seem strange, but try to make time for cute roommate bonding activities. Between class, clubs, jobs, other friends, significant others, and everything else college students have to juggle, it can be easy to lose that solid connection with the people you are actually living with. Set aside time to bake together, watch a movie, or have Taco Tuesday every once in a while. The more positive experiences that you and your roommates have, the easier time you’ll have living together.

Make Time to Explore 

Especially during this time, it can be hard to get out of the house or apartment because there’s really not much to do. But trust me, you have to get out. If the only time you are getting out is on the weekends, it will break you. Go for a walk, go to the gym, run some fun errands, just do what you can. Being in a house or apartment day in and day out time after time is not going to be good for any of you. 

Overall, just don’t get too worked up, don’t be controlling, and try to remember that everyone grows up in different types of households. Not everyone will have the same mindset as you, but you can work to get to a level of understanding with one another through conversation.

Daniella Sears

U Mass Amherst '23

Daniella is a writer for the Her Campus chapter at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a sophomore currently studying Hospitality & Tourism Management with a minor Managerial Economics. Outside of writing, Daniella loves spending time with family, playing with her puppy, and trying new recipes!
Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst