Living with a roommate is a great way to save money on rent. However, many people find that sharing an apartment with another person can be an emotionally trying experience. Setting boundaries as early in the relationship as possible can make it easier.
The key to making sure you aren’t stepping on each other’s toes is clear and straightforward communication. As long as you are honest and upfront with one another, there is no reason you can’t all get along. Here are some tips for setting boundaries with your roommate:
Before Moving In
During your search for a roommate, you should be on the lookout for individuals who share your lifestyle habits. Be upfront about what your expectations are in terms of sleeping schedule and cleanliness.
It is better to avoid getting into an apartment with someone under false pretenses than to lie about your own living style. Everyone has their own schedules and habits that work for them, the key is to be honest with yourself and your potential roommate from the get-go.
Make It Concrete
While expectations are a good place to start when deciding on a roommate, after you have made the choice to move in together, one of the first steps is to make your expectations concrete. Draft up a list of roommate rules so that everyone is clear about exactly what is expected of them.
For example, if you both agree that in order to get enough sleep on weeknights you want to limit guests Monday through Friday, then include that in your roommate contract. The more specific you are, the better.
Sharing is Caring
One of the most common points of contention between roommates is the issue of shared property. Everyone has different ideas about what is appropriate to share.
For example, some people are very territorial over their own special cooking utensils such as a high-quality chefs knife. Other people are happy to share all of their kitchen supplies. In order to avoid any problems, be upfront about what you are willing to share and what you aren’t. This is an important part of setting boundaries.
Compromise is Key
Being flexible and understanding will make everyone’s lives easier. Understand that your roommate will notice and appreciate the instances when you going out of your way to do things for them. Making concessions for other people without being a pushover is a bit of a skill.
The key is to set boundaries with yourself. Be okay with making certain allowances but know when to be firm. For example, if your roommate asks you to pick them up on your way home from work, go ahead and take the time to do a little favor. However, if it turns into your roommate making repetitive demands of you, politely inform them that there are certain things that you just aren’t able to do for them.
Establishing clear rules is essential to fostering a healthy roommate relationship. When you enter into a living situation with someone else, expect there to be speed bumps along the way. However, as long as you are clear about your own boundaries, then there is no reason that those little speed bumps should turn into larger problems.