During your time in the U.S., you’ll likely have roommates. Living with other people is a great way to make friends that are in the same situation as you, not to mention it saves money on rent and household expenses.
Still, things rarely go perfectly all of the time with your housemates. Put a few strangers in a home together and you’re bound to have some bumps in the road! Doing these eight things will set you up for success when living with roommates.
Set expectations from day one.
Have a conversation about the following topics.
- Do you have a time of day when you agree to keep noise at a minimum?
- What is your policy on friends or significant others coming over?
- How often will you clean, and who will clean different parts of the house?
Write down the outcome and put it in a group text so you can all remember what you agreed to.
This tip is simple: clean up after yourself. One of the fastest ways to be a bad roommate is to be messy. Don’t be that person! Stick to the cleaning schedule that you and your housemates have created. A good rule to follow is that if it takes less than five minutes to clean, do it right away, and don’t save it for later.
Make headphones your friend.
You may love dancing to music all day or staying up late to binge your favorite Netflix show, but your roommates may not. Grab your favorite pair of headphones and use them when you’re in shared spaces at home. In this tech-savvy world, awesome headphones are not hard to find!
Learn each other’s schedules.
There’s nothing worse than needing to shower before work and waiting for thirty minutes while your roommate is in the bathroom! Discuss the bathroom schedule for both your morning and evening routines to avoid traffic jams.
Healthy boundaries are the secret to any successful relationship, and it’s no different with your roommates. For example, if your housemate is an introvert who likes to be left alone after work, respect that by giving them their space. Be open-minded about how other people live. If you are bothered by something your roommates are doing, talk to them and compromise on how to move forward. Be aware of your own living habits, and don’t be judgemental. It’s important to remember that you are learning about your roommates as well as learning about yourself!
Have check-in dinners.
Cook dinner at home as a group once or twice per month and talk about how everything is going. You can recap the expectations you all agreed to and discuss if they are being followed. If you have any new requests or adjustments, this is the perfect time to bring them up. Inject an international flair by preparing a dish from your home country. Sharing your culture makes it a bonding experience too!
Value respect above all.
Living with roommates is a wonderful way to make friends, but that doesn’t mean you have to hang out all of the time. The number one thing in your relationship with your roommates is respect; as long as you have that, you’ll be fine!
Go beyond the golden rule.
“Treat others the way you’d like to be treated” is known as the Golden Rule. This is a great place to start when living with roommates. However, you should actually go beyond it. For example, you may not mind a sink full of dirty dishes, but it may make your housemate crazy. When you’re at home, whether it’s noise, cleaning, or having friends over, anticipate others’ needs and respect them, even if they don’t line up with your own standard.