Living with people is actually much tougher than you were led to believe. In movies and television shows moving in with another person is often a cause for high jinx and fun misunderstandings. I hate to break it to you, but Friends lied. I'm still at a loss for why Monica didn't have a nuclear meltdown over Joey eating all of her food — even through her unemployment stint. If someone I was living with (or lived next door to) did this to me, I would be seriously pissed.
With all of the ups and downs of a shared space, new roommates are forced to feel each other out and blend their schedules into something cohesive. You learn to set ground rules for each other and predict sources of conflict before they happen. It can be hard for some, and easy for others. In my experience, there are a few things that can potentially lessen the stress between each party. First and foremost is communication . It seems pretty obvious why communication is included here, but people still have a lot of trouble with this particular one. Letting someone else in and diving into your emotions does not come as second nature to most people. It's something you have to work really hard on. Communication is the backbone to all other points I'm going to make in this article — so get to work, people!
As roommates your job is to get in sync with one another. How do you accomplish this? By doing things together! Here are things that all new roommates should do together.
1. Sit Down And Figure Out Budgets
No one makes the same amount of money. Knowing where each person stands will make future purchases and situations much easier. (Pro tip: set up an Excel sheet to keep track of all your shared purchases!)
2. Design Shared Living Quarters
Unless design is not your thing or you couldn't give less of a rat's ass about it — you both should have a say at what your shared living space looks like. Your room, on the other hand, is all about you.
3. Split The Bills
One person should be in charge of electric, another the gas, and so on and so on. This way you can have automatic payment set up and just pay each other back.
4. Set Up Alarms In Your Phones
Put the day that rent is due into your phone. Put another alarm three days beforehand as well. This way both parties will be aware that money needs to be collected.
5. Split The Fridge
Unless you are going to be buying food for one another, splitting up the fridge space is crucial.
6. Set Up/Trouble Shoot Internet
This is so monumentally important that getting it out of the way is almost the first thing you should do. Both parties should know how to fix the internet when the other is gone.
7. Exchange Emergency Contact Info
Just do it. It will make your parents feel really safe.
8. Make Spare Keys
Someone will be locked out at some point. Have spares available, and if you can, give one to a mutually trusted third party.
9. Research The Neighborhood
This way you know what stores are closest, which hospitals are nearby, and what clubs you can hit up!
10. DVR That Sh*t
If you have limited space in the DVR decide what shows on what schedule can be recorded. This way, you can have movie nights together AND catch up on old shows by yourself.
Toaster ovens, rice cookers, mixers, wine openers — there's an insane number of things you'll be sharing in the kitchen. All of these should not fall on one person's shoulders. Both parties should shop for them.
12. Chore Chart
Unless you are neat freaks on your own, setting up a chore chart is really important. This way you can just point to the chart and avoid any passive aggressive comments.
13. Meet The Neighbors
You and your new roommate should introduce yourselves to the neighbors. That way they know who you are (and don't call the cops at the first sign of a party).
14. Establish Sex-ile Laws
You'll probably both be bringing people home. Set some ground rules and avoid the awkward sauce of waking up to a stranger in your kitchen.
15. Set Up A Saved Fund
If something breaks that your landlord refuses to pay for, having a saved fund for the apartment is a great idea. It doesn't have to be huge, just something to break the barrier.
16. RENTER'S INSURANCE
You never think you need this, but you do. Robberies happen. The world happens. Get insurance.
17. Throw A Housewarming Party Together
Now that you have everything figured out, nothing bonds two people closer than throwing a rager the blends their friend groups. Just remember you'll be the ones cleaning up after everyone leaves! (See: Chore Charts, above.)
Images: Giphy(11), Fox