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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roommate Troubles? Read on!

One of the great and sometimes not so great things about college is that you live with a roommate. It's nice because you can live with your friends and you split the bills with someone else. It's not so nice because you live with your friends. But there are ways to work around issues, negotiate, and navigate your way to a happy living situation.

I only have one roommate. We live in an apartment. (I'll write a separate post for dorm living) I've lived with more roommates but find that I enjoy having just one much more. Here are a couple of systems and "rules" we've come up with. Also, some tips for choosing a good roommate (even if you haven't met them).

1. Quiet Hours
My roommate is a music major. Sometimes she wants to practice in her room. I'm a film major. Sometimes I watch movie in my room. She would be constantly asking me to turn the tv down. It became a problem for me because it would be in the afternoon and I had it on the level I needed it on to be able to hear it. She one time even asked me and my boyfriend to keep it down because we were laughing too loud. Ridiculous. Thankfully, we came up with quiet hours. 10am-11pm. Really simple and we haven't had a problem yet.

2. Report Back
This is something that our college (University of Colorado at Boulder) recommended to everyone from the time we moved here. Tell your roommate when you're leaving, where you're going, and when you should be back. That way, if you're not and don't text or call, your roommate knows something may be wrong and to try to locate you. **This is really important for girls.

3. Learn To Split Bills
My roommate wanted to break down individual days for things like internet but that's ridiculous. We were using the same amount of electricity and internet and cable (the only bills we pay) so it only makes sense to split in half.

4. Buy Separate Groceries
Some people buy their groceries together or "share" groceries. I've had three different roommates and it never worked out with any of them. Someone always thinks someone is taking more than they are or lines are crossed and someone eats an entire box of power bars while someone is out of town *cough*. So just buy separate groceries. If you buy similar things, write your names on them. It could work out to share groceries just not in my experience.

5. Be Courteous
This includes cleaning up after yourself, always keep common areas clean, and take turns unloading the dishwasher and taking out the trash. Also, if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend make sure that it's okay with them that they spend the night or something. Make sure that it's okay if you're drinking with your friends in the place, that they know or have been asked.

6. Be Direct, Be Honest
This one is more directed at girls. Don't avoid each other and text other friends about each other behind their backs. And definitely don't talk about them with other people either on the phone or in person in your room. I haven't personally had this situation but know people who have and it just turns in to a blowout. Remember: You have signed a lease with this person. You are stuck with them until said lease is over. So be KIND!

7. Don't Go In Each Other's Rooms Without Permission
Another common courtesy. One of my roommates used to steal clothes from me and then wear them in front of me claiming she bought them herself and that our wardrobes are just similar. Still trying to get clothes back from that biotch.

8. Try To See Each Other at Lease Once a Day
It's nice to catch up on each others days with one another. You get to see how they are and it's a good time to bring things up like "hey, when you put the vacuum away, can you wrap up the cord". Or "what are you doing this weekend? Wanna see a movie or something?"

9. More Bonding Time
Try to watch a movie or bake something together or if you're guys, drink a beer or watch the game together. It's just nice to have the connection.

10. Help Out When You Can
My roommate is out of state and doesn't have a car so before I go to the grocery store, I ask her if she needs to go because it bites to have to drag those heavy bags back to our apartment.

So there are some of my tips! Just be kind, courteous, and patient and you should be fine :) Happy living!

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