When you were a child, you probably didn’t think “I want to have roommates when I grow up!” However, living with roommates doesn’t have to be the nightmare that so many people make it out to be. Whether you have roommates by choice or necessity, for the short- or long-term, there are many ways to make roommate life more enjoyable.
1. Lighten up on your expectations.
There are many common-sense things roommates must do to show each other respect, like not touching each other’s private property and not blasting loud music at 3 AM every night. Still, it’s important to keep your expectations reasonable. If you get upset every single time your roommates make noise or leave dirty dishes in the sink, you’re going to have a bad time.
2. Have a game or movie night.
Roommate life doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Find things that you and your roommates all enjoy, and make time to do those activities together. Playing your favorite games or watching movies together can be a simple way to ease any tension in the household and maybe even build lasting friendships.
3. Speak up assertively when something bothers you.
If one of your roommates does something that bothers you and you haven’t told them, chances are good they don’t know it bothers you. Leaving passive aggressive notes or loudly complaining about your roommates to your other friends is not the way to handle your grievances. Send your roommate a polite text with a direct ask and a short explanation. For instance, try: “Would you mind keeping your shoes in the closet? I frequently trip over them when they’re right outside our door.”
4.Accept the things that you can’t change.
If your roommate always cooks salmon but fishy odors make you nauseous, you can ask them to stop, but their diet is their own choice. Unless they are forcing you to stay in the kitchen while they hold a pan full of fish under your nose, they haven’t done anything wrong. Accept their preferences and find a room that doesn’t smell so fishy.
5. Appreciate your roommates’ best qualities.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have roommates who share their pizza with you, brews a full pot of coffee in the morning, and consistently takes out the trash. Maybe you have a roommate who’s never home and gives you plenty of privacy. Or maybe there’s something else unique about your roommates that you didn’t even know that you wanted. Showing gratitude for the things you love most about your roommates will help you maintain a positive mindset when the roommate life isn’t perfect.
6.Remember why you have roommates.
Many people, especially millennials, have essentially been forced into co-living situations due to dropping wages and skyrocketing rent costs. Whether your goal is to have companionship and a feeling of familial unity or to save money until you can one day afford to live on your own, remember that living with roommates is a practical solution to your problems.
Patience and understanding are vital in roommate relationships; no one wants to feel uncomfortable in their own home. That’s why it’s important to communicate openly, frequently, and kindly with your roommates. Embracing the positive aspects of living with others is a simple way to be happier at home.