How to get along with your roommate?
It often makes sense to settle on a hostel or PG, when you move to a new city. A place where you won’t be alone, where you can share your dreams and struggles with like-minded folk, and hopefully, not end up feeling burdened by them. Finding that one roommate who becomes your best friend – now that’s a dream come true! But not everyone has practice living with other people. And if you’ve ever been caught up in a passive-aggressive conflict – be it at home with a roommate or at the office with a coworker – you know that even one small exchange can ruin your mood for the day. But hey, you can’t control anyone else’s actions. What you can do is rise above pettiness and nudge everyone towards cordiality with your own positive behavior. So here are some simple habits to help you build healthy relationships with the people you live with.
1. Communicate your needs to your roommate
Whether you’re living in campus accommodation, a paying guest space, or even one of the many girls hostels in Bangalore, your roommate is probably as new to the city and coliving as you. So it’s important that you communicate your needs. The icebreaker sessions in the dorm are fine, but as you’re getting to know your new roommate, help them also learn who you are and what you need in your home life. If you go to bed early, let them know and ask them to keep the television and music volume down after your bedtime. This has to work both ways—if they like to sleep in, let them. If you like to listen to music during your morning workout, use your headphones. Don’t stomp around the room and slam doors in a rush to start your day. It’s just as rude to be loud early in the morning as it is late in the evening.
2. Establish your boundaries and respect theirs
Sharing is caring. But you’re still allowed to have boundaries. Your personal belongings are important to you, so let your roommate know if you don’t mind sharing or if you prefer they ask first. So, even though it is nice to occasionally help out your roommate if they need something, it is also okay to draw a line about anything you might not want to share – your favorite snacks and drinks, your Netflix subscription and a hundred little things that you might be particular about. Even when it’s a tough conversation, try to be open, honest, and upfront about your preferences.
3. Ask for permission instead of forgiveness
If you’re making a choice that could have a big impact on your roommate, ask them first. We don’t mean simple choices like cleaning on a Friday instead of a Sunday, but if you’re inviting friends over or planning a major yoga session on your shared floor – ask first. It’s really just courtesy – not everyone is comfortable with strangers in their spaces, and conflicting plans for shared resources can be uncomfortable for you and your roommate alike.
4. Be mindful of the space you take up
Leaving your clothes lying all over the room or keeping unwashed mugs and utensils around just isn’t considerate. You might think you’ll get to it soon, but it’s best to actually schedule time into your day to clean up as you go. It’s hard to work around someone else’s mess. Instead you could come up with a system together so everyone knows which space is shared and which is theirs alone. This is also a great opportunity to Marie Kondo your space if you’re a hoarder. Trust us, you’ll end up with a clean and organised room and a happy roommate. That’s sure to spark joy.
5. Don’t force a relationship
Yeah we all want a roommate relationship like Chandler and Joey from Friends, but sometimes dreams don’t come true. Sure it’s nice to say hi and chat about the day, but you have to admit that you won’t always be friends with your roommate. Some people are just more introverted or perhaps have different interests. Don’t worry about it though, because if you’re in the mood to chat, there are other places to make friends. Find events going around in the area that draw your fancy, and you’re likely to find people you have more in common with. Yes, it’s still nice to invite your roommate along with you, but don’t pressure them into something they aren’t in the mood for.
6. Don’t say yes when you mean no
When you first moved to a new city, you might have had a lot of conflicting emotions – excitement and apprehension, hope and fear. This is where you want to discover your best self, and try everything. But sometimes this can actually end up inconveniencing you. You may want to be friendly when your roommate asks you for a favor or invites you to do something – but it’s just as important to be honest. It’s one thing to be a little nervous about trying a new thing, but it’s something else to say yes when you actually want to say no. If you’re not sure about something, tell them before you commit! Ignoring your own needs has a way of turning into resentment. It’s not your roommate’s fault that you say yes to something – but it may start to feel like that if you aren’t open with your feelings.
And there you have it – our tips for healthier roommate relationships. Because we want to be able to have your space, and still feel at home with your roommates. That’s why we recommend you choose residences that are thoughtfully designed and professionally managed. Like Stanza Living. They’ll offer you single, double and triple-sharing rooms with the best amenities so you can get the best of me-time and we-time as you prefer. Not just that, if you need something to bring you closer to your roommate, their community programmes calendar is full of game nights, barbecue evenings, movie screenings, adventure sports and more. So put our tips to work and see your roommate concerns ease out.
Gareth Willmot is a serial weird festival collector, coffee snob and a neurotic last-minute traveller who is passionate about marketing, ultramarathons and yoga.