So you're about to move in with your BFF, partner, colleague, or a stranger. You're probably stoked, but it might be a good idea to brush up on your roommate etiquette tips on moving in with someone new amidst all the decorating plans. As someone who's had her fair share of roommates, I can attest to the importance of this.
We all dream of having the perfect roommate who shares common interests, enjoys cleaning, and is a great cook who loves to share. They would be equal parts funny, intelligent, considerate, and totally chill. Think a mix of Bree Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives and Jessica Day from New Girl. You could fantasize about your dream roommate all day, but why not focus on transforming yourself into the perfect roommate instead?
Obviously you don't want anyone to take advantage of you, but if you start your journey off on the right foot, your new cohabiting companion might follow suit. Moving in with someone you've never lived with before can be very nerve-wracking, as your relationship will be taken to a whole new level. You'll probably discover things about your roommate (and yourself) that you never expected. That being said, sharing a living space with someone new is extremely exciting and it could be the start of an incredible adventure together. So here are some handy tips that should help it all go smoothly.
1. Establish Ground Rules ASAP
It's a great idea to establish some ground rules within the first month. After you're all settled in, invite your new roommate for a coffee or sit down and have lunch together. Bring a piece of paper and a pen if you feel you won't remember the ground rules you decide upon. Rules surrounding food (do you share or separate groceries?) rules about house guests (is there a cap on visitation periods?) and even certain sex etiquette rules should be sorted out right away. Establishing some ground rules with your new roommate will hopefully avoid any awkwardness or uncertainties you both may have and it will allow you to transition into your new lifestyle a little more smoothly.
2. Remember That Patience Is A Virtue
Before moving in with your new roommate, it's probably a good idea to begin working on your patience. There will be times when you feel like you've reached your limit and you're about to blow your lid, but take a deep breath, relax, and maybe go for a walk to clear your head. Take up practices such as a yoga class or gratitude practice that will help you to stay balanced and not fly off the handle at the tiniest thing.
3. Don’t Stress Over The Small Stuff
When you've lived with someone for a while and you're starting to really get to know them, those quirks you once found endearing might start to grind on you. The funny sound of your bestie chewing her food could start to drive you insane, your work friend's forgetfulness may become less cute and more frustrating by the day, or your partner leaving their toenail clippings lying around might not be quite so hilarious when you're living together. Remember to look at the bigger picture and when you feel like stressing out over the small stuff, try to remember the qualities which you love about your roommate and the reasons why you wanted to live with them in the first place. If something really starts to bother you, approach your roommate calmly and directly about it.
4. Make A Chore Schedule
In every household there are certain jobs that need doing and it's not fair for one person to be carrying it all. Come to an agreement with your new roommate about who will do what and when before you start to notice they never take out the trash or do their dishes. There's definitely room for compromising with chores as different folks are better at certain things than others. If you hate doing laundry, offer to clean the bathroom twice a week instead. As long as the workload is spread evenly amongst you and the schedule is adhered to, your place will look spic and span all year round.
5. Keep In Mind That No One Is Perfect
We're all different and that's what makes life beautiful — nobody is perfect, including you! Stop expecting perfection from yourself and others and try to come to terms with the fact that you can't control everything, including the behaviour and actions of your roommate. Of course there are certain things you shouldn't tolerate in a roommate, so you need to find a middle ground where you are not expecting perfection, but where you're also aware of how you should be treated and how you should treat your roommate.
6. Admit When You’re Wrong
Admitting you're wrong can be really tricky, especially if you're a stubborn person, but sometimes it needs to be done. It's just plain silly to let an argument go on needlessly when all it would take to fix it is an apology. There will be times when you're both wrong, but being the first one to wave the white flag doesn't mean you're a pushover — it makes you the bigger person. So apologize when you're in the wrong but remember you shouldn't say "I'm sorry" if you haven't actually done anything.
7. It Won’t All Be Sunshine & Rainbows
Like with everything else in life, there will be good times and bad times when living with your new roommate. So don't go having a breakdown or looking to live somewhere else because you and your roommate are going through a rough patch. Relationships are tricky at the best of times and when you throw cohabitation into the mix, it's a whole new ball game, so don't get all doom and gloom just because you and your roomie might bicker every now and then. Instead, power through the tough times and thoroughly enjoy the amazing times because there's bound to be plenty of those too.
All that's left to do now is throw a housewarming party — just make sure to get your roommate's permission first!