At some point in your life’s journey and particularly at school, living with someone you barely know as a roommate (or housemate) is inevitable.
Especially for the middle and lower class individuals.
This pattern of living is especially common among university students who can’t afford to pay a full year’s rent for an apartment. Or students who desire to save some extra cash for other purposes (and the list is endless, smile).
Living with someone you barely know can be a little or very challenging (depending on the person or people involved). Because you don’t know the character of the other person.
In some cases, both parties end up being friends. In other cases, they end up having countless misunderstandings with several scores to settle, some of which are unsolvable.
As the popular saying goes, “you will never know a person’s true character until you live with them”. And with several testimonies from various individuals I met, I confirmed the truth in that old saying.
Moreover, I have personal experiences of my own living with people I barely knew.
Its from all that I put together these few things I did to ensure we both had our own space and live in peace, without having to tear each other apart.
Below are things to live successfully with a roommate.
1. Make useful inquiry about your intended roommate
This is the first and most important thing to do when you set out to be a roommate of someone you barely know. Because you need to do your research on the person you plan staying with and get to know basic details about him/her/them.
However, this is not possible in many cases. Especially in certain scenarios like school hostels, newly admitted students pairing up to rent an apartment and job accommodation where you don’t even determine your roommate.
But if it’s in your power to determine who your roommate is, like a private accommodation, then follow this rule.
Some room/house mates can make your stay worthwhile while some can make your stay a living hell. So its necessary that you do a thorough background check before getting a room/house mate.
Live with someone who you know is compatible with you. For example, if you are the type that keep late nights, it is advisable to live with someone who doesn’t have a problem with that.
And if you are the type that loves to stay in your lane and mind your business, get yourself a roommate that isn’t nosy.
This will ensure you live in peace in your desired apartment.
2. Set up ground rules
This one is as important as the first. Set rules!
The rules should be made collectively since you both have equal rights to the apartment.
Rules like taking permission before using each other’s belongings,
Having your own key at all times to avoid inconveniencing the other person,
Keeping your stuff in your side of the space at all times,
Doing the chores when it’s your turn,
Never inconvenience each other’s visitors even if you don’t like the person,
Don’t leave the space untidy for any reason,
Don’t eat each other’s food without permission,
Always ask first before you use, and
Other rules that you both find suitable can help to aid peaceful cohabitation within yourselves.
3. Learn to mind your business
This is one skill that has helped a lot of people stay out of trouble. It helped me personally.
If you know that you are living with a stranger, it is best to stay out of their business. Especially if they didn’t bring it to you.
Moreover, even if they bring it to you, don’t be excessively engrossed in it. This can be particularly challenging in a school hostel.
Though there are many good things about staying in the hostel. Check out: 5 advantages of living in school hostel
In all, learn to respect yourself by not contributing when you are not asked. It shows you are petty and no one likes a shitty person.
4. Always be cordial
This is a trait every human being ought to possess. When you are living with someone you are not friends with, it is important for you to have a cordial and courteous relationship with them.
It goes without saying that you should take in your room/house mate’s clothes when it’s about to rain if you are at home.
That shows you are courteous, and its a nice trait to have.
5. Make sure you have no religious indifference
It is important to know the religious background of the person you intend to stay with.
Even if you both don’t practice the same religion, ensure you don’t inconvenience each other with your various religious practices.
6. Make sure household expenses are a responsibility for both of you
This is perhaps the most practical tip I would give on having a roommate. As roommates, the expenses should be split between all those staying there.
Bills like rent, electricity, gas, water bills and other impromptu expenses should be paid by all. A source of income will help in sorting out your own part of the bill and in the end, everyone is happy.
Here is how to make money and be independent. It contains my thoughts on how you can make money legitimately and pay your bills.
As a simple reminder, here are 6 things you should do when living with a roommate.
- Make useful inquiry about your intended roommate
- Set up ground rules
- Learn to mind your business
- Always be cordial
- Make sure you have no religious indifference
- Make sure household expenses are a responsibility for both of you
You never can tell how a relationship you create today can help in the future. Therefore, it is necessary to do your own part.
Also check our other post showing you How to build healthy relationships in school and why you must.
Be courteous, and
Be gracious at all times.
If the vibe is too negative, then I advise you to stay alone. Your peace of mind is much more important.
Living with someone you barely know can be challenging but it can also be very rewarding. You just have to mind your business and make suggestions when necessary.
Are there tips or experience you’ve had living with a roommate you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.
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Maxwell Tega has a passion for showing people hope. He has nearly a decade experience helping people make key decisions on education and career. You can find him almost everywhere on this site, from answering admission and scholarship questions to creating tutorials. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.