For many of us, living with a roommate is a necessity, allowing us to live comfortably by saving money on rent, utilities and living expenses. However, getting along with a roommate can sometimes be difficult to manage. Whether you’re living with a close friend, sibling or someone new, many renters eventually encounter minor speed bumps that can fester and turn a cozy home into a war zone. If moving out isn’t a realistic option, we have developed a few tips on how to deal with roommate problems.
Roommates Don’t Have to be Best Friends
Although there have been success stories where roommates end up becoming friends for life, sharing a lease does not oblige you to develop a close friendship. If sharing secrets and spending weekend outings together doesn’t fit with your relationship, pledge to be a courteous and understanding roommate. Above all else, the most important thing to remember is that your apartment is your roommate’s home as much as it is your own.
Communication is the Answer to Everything
If minor roommate problems arise, commit to talking through everything in person. It might be tempting to leave your roommate a note, but remember that anything written down can potentially be misinterpreted and blown out of proportion. To avoid misunderstandings, approach your roommate and voice any issues that you have with regard to your living situation. As important as it is to speak about your problems, it’s just as beneficial to also listen to the issues that your roommate voices. Identifying any roommate issues before they develop into larger problems will make it easier to live together in the long run.
Find Alternative Solutions
Get creative with ways to avoid confrontation. For example, if your roommate likes to sleep with a few night lights on, invest in a sleeping mask. If you detest your roommate’s loud music, put on a set of headphones and listen to a few of your own beats. If you need some more alone time, consider attending local activities to get you out of the house, or discover a getaway place that will help keep you occupied (such as a local coffee shop).
If your situation remains difficult, stay on top of your own responsibilities and busy yourself as much as possible. Wash your dishes immediately, take care of your weekly chores, keep your belongings in your personal space, and pay your share of rent and utilities on time. Doing so might encourage your roommate to do the same, and even if this isn’t the case, you will at least be secure in knowing that you kept your end of the bargain!
Although we may dream of a peaceful place to come home to, living happily with a roommate can sometimes entail negotiating and a lot of TLC. Ask any friend or family member if they ever had roommate issues, and chances are they’ll have a story to tell. In the meantime, continue to focus on the positive aspects of living with your roommate and treat it as a learning experience. You’ll look back at it and laugh in a few months!