Sharing space is hard.
If you live in a big city and work an entry-level position, you’re living with roommates. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to have permanent company to eat popcorn dinner with or to vent about an ex, but there are other times when you wish they’d move out. A few examples: dirty dishes in the sink (when you just scrubbed the kitchen), piles of laundry in the hallway, and late-night partying when you have a really important meeting first thing in the morning. Although it may seem like you’re never the one to cause the problems, you’re probably guilty of a few of your own offences. Here are a few ways you can be better at this co-living situation.
LEARN TO SHARE
Forget about your only child syndrome, there’s no time for that in a shared living sitch. Get used to splitting your bottle of rosé and if your last few leaves of kale go missing, just chill. This whole roommate thing is about picking your battles, and the more you share, the better things will be. Don’t forget that it works both ways—that block of sharp cheddar you’ve been eyeing in the fridge? Yours to enjoy if you play the game right.
Just because you’re ready to have a wild night out mid-week doesn’t mean your roommate is. Chances are you work separate jobs and your chill week may be the busiest week of his/her life. If they’re looking for a relaxing night in, move your party elsewhere so that they can have some peace and quiet—this also means no coming home at 4 AM with a slew of people in tow looking for a good after-party. Be respectful and you shall be respected back.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
There are going to be times where a dish doesn’t get cleaned right away, or a dirty towel is left on the floor of the bathroom, but when you look at the big picture, that’s probably much better than paying an extra $500+ in rent (minimum). Sure, if it’s a regular occurrence, just talk it out, and try to remind yourself that just because they forgot to lock the door one night or drank the last beer without restocking, it isn’t really going to ruin your life.
RESPECT THE COMMON AREAS
The kitchen table isn’t the place to drop your coat every time you walk into the house, nor is it the place to spread out your work. If you’re going to take over any space, make it your room—that space is yours to do whatever you please with. Leave your personal items (laundry and mail included) out of the common areas and watch the stress level go down.
SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER
Having roommates can be a lot like dating: just because you see each other on a daily basis doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan roomie date nights, out or in. Sometimes making a nice meal or enjoying a night out at the movies together is all you need to be reminded that you do really enjoy each other’s company. That’s the reason you chose to live with one another, anyway.
GIVE THEM THEIR SPACE
Just as you enjoy having time to yourself, so do your roomies. If they’re hinting towards having a night to themselves, pick up on the signs and respect that—even if it means you forfeit the living room for a night. In line with that: if your roommate seems upset about something, don’t pry. Allow them to open up to you on their own time.