When moving in with new roommates, each roommate brings with them a set of values and norms of what they consider acceptable roommate behaviour to be.
1. Set expectations
Quite often, these individual norms will not align with each other. Follow these guidelines as a starting point to harmonious living with your roommate.
Before moving in together, discuss expectations with your roommates. This discussion will get you on the same page and avoid conflict over unknown expectations. Key points of discussion you may want to consider include;
– Are you going to split groceries? If so, how?
– Who is going to clean what and when?
– How will bills be split? Who will pay them and when?
– Who will take care of the garbage?
– Are pets allowed?
– What is the protocol for visitors?
2. Share experiences
Between the stress of school, extracurricular activities and work, spending quality time with your roommates will help you de-stress, connect and build lasting memories. Find a shared interest and intentionally schedule time together to build your relationship. Some ideas of quality time might include;
– Creating a weekly cooking night
– Joining a recreation sports league or intramurals team
– Having a weekly movie night
– Volunteering together
– Working out together
3. Choose your battles
Like any relationship, you will have conflict with your roommate. Like any relationship, you will need to compromise with your roommate. In order to keep the peace with your roommate, choose only the most important issues to address. Are crumbs on the countertop the end of the world when there are unpaid bills to address?
When addressing conflict, be respectful. Begin by outlining the source of conflict, how it is affecting you personally and provide possible solutions to the situation that are agreeable to all parties involved. Give your roommate an opportunity to react to the issue you have raised. Listen closely to what they have to say. Modify your solutions to the problem based on their feedback. Do not yell, create sides, blame or belittle your roommate. Rather, use the conflict as a way to open the lines of communication with your roommate and build a stronger relationship.
Your turn: Roommates can be the best or the worst part of university life. While it’s easy to point the finger at others, what tip do you need to adopt so you are bringing the harmony? Let’s see a little honesty, tell us what you want to change.