How To Have A Healthy Relationship With Your Roommate

There are many important, yet unpleasant, conversations you will need to have with your roommate/roommates. Knowing how to handle certain situations is critical to a harmonious relationship.

As soon as you move in, discuss boundaries.

Boundaries are incredibly important for many reasons that I have explained here. If you want until your top pet peeves happen to talk about them, you’ve already risked an unpleasant encounter. You should talk about your habits within the first week of moving in. I, for example, mentioned how I’m a light sleeper, I need sleep on week nights because I wake up early, and I’m very clean. Those are my top three bug-a-boos and I made sure to let my roommates know them ASAP. This prevented an unpleasant “turn down the TV I’m trying to sleep” conversation.

Don’t be ridiculous, though

Yes, you need to tell your roommates your pet peeves, but you’re not a dictator and they need to be able to live their lives. For example, yes I need to sleep and I’m a light sleeper, but if you want to have a raging party on a Friday night when I don’t have to wake up early the next morning, that’s totally fine. It’s your space, too. Yes, I’m extremely clean, but if you leave some dishes in the sink and it’s bothering me then I’ll do them. I expect you to be reasonably clean, but not Type-A, so if I want the space cleaner than reasonable, I’ll clean it myself. You do have to compromise on some things.

Be assertive, not passive aggressive

If something your roommate is doing is bothering you, do NOT be passive aggressive. I promise it will lead to resentment and weaken your relationship. If you want them to take out the trash because they never do you do not say “if you wanted to take out the trash once in a while that would be cool”. No no no. Instead you say “I know you’re super busy, but I’ve noticed our trash can fills around twice a week so if we could each take out the trash once a week I’d really appreciate it”. There, that was easy. No defense will go up because you didn’t imply that they’re lazy or dirty for not taking out the trash. Actually, you even acknowledged how busy they are and gave them sympathy (which is one of the quickest ways to win a person’s approval btw). Being assertive in general is super important and there is a great resource that explains how to be assertive here.

Be nice (shocker)

For real. This applies to getting anyone to like you. Genuinely care about them. Pay attention to their moods and when they happen. Ask your roommate about their day and let them talk about themselves when you know they’re in a talkative mood. When they complain, sympathize with them. Like I said, sympathy is something every human craves so giving it to them will make them like you. If they like you, then they will go out of their way to be accommodating. They will also not be quick to jump to anger when you ask them to change something or do something. Think about it. Would you rather have your best friend tell you that you’re being too loud or a stranger?

Be considerate

Be the change you wish to see in the world. No, but really. Be as clean as you want them to be. Keep the noise at the level you would want it. When they tell you to change habits, like do the dishes more, do it. And then they’ll also feel inclined to do the same. Monkey see, monkey do.

And remember…

The only person you can comfortably live with is yourself. If you’re doing all of these things, setting boundaries, being assertive about your feelings, being nice and considerate, then you’re probably going to have a great relationship with your roommate. If you’re doing all of these things and your roommate is still ridiculous, you should probably look for a new place to live because your piece of mind is more important than your location.