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5 Tips On How To Be A Good Roommate Next Semester

collegeroommatesjpgCollege life will have its ups and downs, but relationships are what define the experience. They motivate you to push through a difficult class or distract you when you’re studying for midterms. Just like any partnership, healthy roommate relationships take work. Common sense and a few simple tricks can help you and your roommate coexist peacefully under the same roof.

Maintain Your Own Space

It is all about boundaries and you and your roommate need some. Maintain your own space and define what your boundaries are up front. Don’t expect your roommate to read your mind — if late night TV is going to interfere with your beauty sleep, now is the time to say so. Make this a bonding ritual that helps clear the air right from the start. Things to discuss include:

  • Smoking
  • Visitors
  • Study time
  • Noise control
  • Pets
  • Food
  • Sharing

It is hard to come up with a complete list of things you love or hate all at once, so leave this line of communication open. Some issues may develop over time and the boundaries will change.

Hang Out at Least Once a Week

With any luck, you are building a friendship, not just saving on the rent, and that takes commitment. Set aside time for you and your roommate to do things together. Whether it is movie night or shooting hoops every Thursday after class, spending together time is a proactive way to nurture the relationship.

Expect Conflict

It is bound to happen – if you put two or more people under one roof, they will eventually disagree at some point. Go into the partnership knowing that problems will happen. Dealing with them right away keeps them from smoldering. Find ways to talk out the issues as they arise.

Timing matters. Be smart about approaching your roommate if you do have a problem. If it’s a bad day, put it off. Be aware of your own mood, also. If you are already cranky or irritable, what starts out as a discussion will end up as a battle.

Come Up With a System that Works

This is about organization. There are bills to pay, chores to do and personal space to consider. Plan it out to avoid procrastinating on necessary tasks:

  • Create a schedule for study time.
  • Make a list of who is responsible for paying the utilities.
  • Develop a “to do” list for cleaning.
  • Discuss how to get the best amenities for the house. For example, Direct2TV.com can hook you up with rocking TV service for just $29.95 per month. Research what else is available in the area to get the most for your combined buck.

Don’t leave anything to the imagination, but it is okay to leave some tasks open ended. If you have a minute to clean the refrigerator, by all means, knock yourself out.

A Little Communication Goes a Long Way

Communication, or lack of it, is a deal breaker. Finding ways to communicate puts out fires before they happen. You know the old sock on the doorknob trick? That actually works. Have a system that signals you need some privacy. Not everything in life is planned, so you had better have a way of silently dealing with those little unexpected surprises.

Above all else, be considerate of your roommate. Ask before you borrow, don’t eat food you don’t own and be courteous about noise. Remember, this person is more than just a way to keep the rent down. You are half of a team working to get through school together.

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