Whether you are living in with a long-time friend or moving into a shared house, living with other people can be a challenge. According to Statistics Canada, nearly a quarter of all adults ages 20-29 live in shared accommodations with roommates. With so many young adults living with others, it’s in everyone’s best interest to cultivate a healthy roommate relationship from the start. Great roommates respect each other and communicate their wants and needs. Here are 7 important steps to establish and maintain healthy roommate relations:
1. ESTABLISH OPEN COMMUNICATION FROM THE BEGINNING
This tip is number one for a reason. Whether you have known your roommate for years or are meeting for the first time, it is important to get to know one another (at least a little bit). Be kind and clear about your preferences and listen to what your roommate has to say. You may want to discuss things like cleanliness, music and noise levels, having guests over and other issues that need negotiation. Don’t expect your roommate has the same preferences you have! Be clear and open about your wants and needs as this will help you to avoid conflicts in the future.
2. RESPECT YOUR ROOMMATE’S STUFF
It should go without saying, but this causes a lot of conflict in roommate relationships. Always ask before using or borrowing your roommate’s things.
3. IT’S OKAY IF YOU AREN’T BEST FRIENDS
Often, people assume that their closest friends will make the best roommates. After all, you enjoy spending a lot of time with them and get along great. This, however, may not be the case. By all means, be friendly and pleasant with your roommates but living with someone AND being best friends can cause strain on the relationship. Often, it is best to live with someone you get along with but also have slightly separate (or entirely separate) social circles.
4. STAY OPEN AND NON-JUDGEMENTAL
Your roommate may have a different set of values, social circles, and interests. Keep an open mind and try your best to stay neutral in the face of roommate differences. You can respect your roommate’s right to make choices and decisions without condoning or joining in.
5. LOCK UP
Be sure to secure the suite when you leave. Try your best to show your respect for the suite and your roommate’s possessions by taking appropriate security measures each time you leave the rental.
6. FIGHT FAIR
It is nearly inevitable that you will encounter some disagreement or conflict during your roommate relationship. Do your best to address any grievances aired by your roommate and apologize if necessary. Take responsibility for your actions. Alternately, if you have any issues, bringing them up early and politely is the best policy. Don’t let little things fester.
7. HAVE A ROOMMATE AGREEMENT
Set yourself up for success by getting everyone’s preferences in writing at the beginning. A roommate agreement can help set out expectations and common standards for the suite. This will help to avoid conflict in the future. If disagreements occur, it can be referred to as well.
Living with roommates? DOWNLOAD our roommate guide to increase your chances of a successful tenancy!
If you want to learn more about establishing good roommate relationships and avoiding conflict, check out RentSmart Online. The course covers a variety of information on how to create successful tenancies. Take the course today!