I’ve lived with new roommates all four years during my college experience. Three of those years were spent in various houses rented around my school campus. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that not everyone is raised the same. You can never expect people to live a certain way or you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise when you realize just how many things aren’t “common sense” to others, the way they are to you. Once you learn this lesson, it’ll make living with others so much easier, but it’ll also help you ask the right questions before agreeing to live with someone else, especially if you plan to share the same room!
For instance, I come from a household where Sundays were used to deep clean the whole house together. That means moving every little item in the house around to dust or clean, even the smallest thing. It means that if you were the last one to put something in an overflowing trash can, you better take it out right away. It means that your room can be as messy as you want as long as the common areas are spotless or you make sure you pick up after yourself after you’re done doing something. While many people might be shaking their heads right now, agreeing that these are part of basic living etiquette, I’ve found that so many people that I’ve lived with don’t automatically think this way.
Each year, my best friend and I thought to ask our new housemates pointed questions that revolved around our issues from the year before. This, however, left a lot of issues unasked about. Living with new people has come to make me very nervous since I never know what to expect anymore.
This year, I decided to make a Google Form, essentially a quiz, so that everyone would know what to expect from each other. It also creates accountability since all the information will be shared and there’s evidence of what each person said. Google forms allow you to personalize quizzes in a fun way and provides options for group or individual responses. I’m personally having a lot of fun reading the responses and plan to make a presentation for everyone out of them. It turns a fun personality quiz into a house bonding activity.
There are so many things that contribute to how we live our lives so I did lots of research. Many of the questions came from personal experiences but most came from Buzzfeed quizzes and psychological personality tests. Something as small as the time you wake up can have a huge impact on the rest of your housemates. I tried to keep it lighthearted and open ended because not everything had “yes/no” answers. I even threw in a few radical answers so everyone would have fun taking it.
Getting to know your future roommates before you sign a lease together is the ideal situation. If you’re living with friends, staying in the same house for a year could be detrimental to the relationship!