Adjusting to living with another person can present challenges, even if you know the person you’re going to be living with. However, moving in with someone you’re still getting to know presents its own unique challenges.
At Bedly, we’ve seen hundreds of successful roommate relationships where people are able to enjoy living together and get along really well. Here are some of our lessons learned for what works (and what doesn’t). Follow these tips and you’ll be in great shape to kick off a new living situation together.
1. Share your expectations for chores and cleanliness
One of the first things you should do with a new roommate is come to an agreement on your shared expectations for cleanliness. If one person keeps a very tidy home and the other is okay with clutter, you could encounter friction early on.
Rather than letting that tension build, sit down together to talk about your expectations. Agree on things like how dishes should be treated, whether you share food and who should take out the trash.
2. Create a list of house rules
Another common point of friction with new roommates is often lifestyle differences. If one roommate is an introvert and the other likes to bring new friends over frequently, arguments and resentment are likely to arise.
Early on in your relationship, establish house rules. Do you want to have quiet hours after a certain time, is it okay to lend a house key to a friend, and how do you treat your shared space are all great questions to answer.
3. Get to know one another
Once you’ve shared your expectations for how you’ll treat your home, take some time to get to know one another. If you’re comfortable with it, share stories about your families, jobs and friends. Building those connections can create both empathy and trust, which can come in handy later if a disagreement happens.
4. Have fun together
While you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, it can be helpful to have some fun together. Find a shared interest you have, like cooking, hiking or painting, and enjoy a casual day together to build and strengthen your relationship.
If something isn’t working for you, don’t let it fester inside. Ask your roommate to talk, and have a mature, controlled conversation about what’s bothering you. Avoid escalating the conversation by maintaining a calm tone and being receptive to what your roommate has to say.
Don’t wait for a major conflict with a new roommate to try one of these tips. Consider incorporating these five practices into your relationship early on to ensure you start your new roommateship off on the right foot.