How to Be a Good Roommate

College roommates are an unavoidable thing, and they’ll either be your best friends, or, well, they really won’t. Having a good roommate is awesome. It’s like having a live-in bff – they’re there with you through the ups and downs of life, and they’re generally someone you can rely on heavily. But a bad roommate can honestly make life a living hell.

As someone who has gone through a handful of roommates, both good and bad, I think I have a pretty good grasp on what makes a good roommate, and what makes a bad one. Let me give you the rundown:

1. Doing the dishes

Once you move out of the dorms and graduate from the dining hall to your own kitchen, you’re going to have a fun little responsibility called doing the dishes. When I moved into my first house out of the dorms, I kind of took it for granted that everyone knew that dishes are an unfortunate fact of life. Right? Wrong. I very quickly learned that not everyone’s parents make them do chores growing up, and as a result, dishes are straight up not on some people’s radar. So, future college roommates of America: Do! Your! Dishes! There are few things more disgusting than a pile of dirty dishes that sits in the sink for a week because nobody will do them.

*Also, pro-tip: keep all the dishes with food on them out of whatever side of the sink has a regular drain, and not a disposal. The food will get stuck, and it will rot, and it will clog your sink, and it will smell absolutely awful.

2. Clutter

Along the same lines as doing the dishes, another thing you have to be aware of when you live with roommates is your clutter. Having parents to remind us to pick up our stuff every 5 minutes is annoying, I know, but it gets the job done. Piles of clutter all over communal areas are not cute!! Clutter your room until your heart sings, but for the sake of your roommates, keep it out of shared living spaces.

3. Noise

Look, I get it, sometimes you just need to take a load off and drink on a Wednesday night. But other people in the house might want to, I don’t know, sleep on a Wednesday night?? If you know someone in your house wants to have a quiet night, maybe don’t invite a bunch of people over to pregame loudly. It’s important to be aware that there are others around you, so you can’t just do whatever you want. Not everyone can fall asleep to the gentle tones of trap music.

4. Group stuff

In a shared house/apartment where everyone is paying rent, it’s important for everyone to be included equally in house stuff. Whether it’s weekly cleaning or decisions that affect the whole house, make sure everyone participates and has a voice!

I’m lucky enough now to have some awesome roommates who I love, but that hasn’t always been the case. Take your bad roommates as learning experiences, because it will teach you reallll quick what you do and don’t like when you’re living with someone! Luckily, no lease is forever, so there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. And if you love your roommates, give them a hug -- you might not always get so lucky!

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