Roommates can make living independently so much better. You have someone to split the rent with. You have someone to talk to at the end of the day. And you have a companion that’ll make your day to day a lot less lonely. But, it’s definitely not easy. Roommate problems are bound to arise sooner or later whether they’re a stranger of your best friends since childhood. And these issues can easily tear your place apart. The worst-case scenario is you’d hate living in your apartment. That’s why even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s important to tackle these issues head-on. Here are six of the most common roommate problems and how to fix them before your apartment becomes a warzone.
Cleanliness is the bane of every household. Each person has a different standard of cleanliness. One of you might consider a full sink a mess. But, the other might think its more bearable than an overflowing counter. It can be a sensitive issue and it can easily give way to an argument. The key to avoiding this is communication. Ask each other what level of cleanliness you can both live with. Then, compromise. A chore chart can actually be a great neutral third party that will remind you of both of your tasks. If this doesn’t work, revisit your conversation and check for other options.
2. Splitting the Bill
Rent is usually an easy thing to split. Things like groceries, on the other hand, are a bit more difficult to settle. You both have different needs and not every grocery trip amounts to the same amount. To avoid building up resentment, draw up a plan. Maybe the two of you can alternate between buying common goods like tissue. Or you can split the fridge and cupboards in half. The important thing is to discuss your finances thoroughly and settle on how much you two are willing to shell out for these things. This way, no one feels like the other is mooching off of them.
3. Significant Others
There’s nothing wrong with having your roommate’s significant other over. But, once they start becoming the third roommate, it may create frustrations for you. Even if they’re an okay person, it’s not fair to you. You didn’t sign up for it. And they are using up resources that you’re paying for. So, talk to your roomie and her SO about it. The earlier the better. If he/she is going to continue staying there most nights of the week, it’s only reasonable you ask them to chip in. This could be in the form of cash, chores, or something as equally helpful.
4. Unexpected Guests
You and your roommate have the right to bring guests over. But, you should alert each other first. It’s not about asking permission but rather more about informing your roomie. After all, it is your shared home. You could also lay down some ground rules. For example, noise should be toned down to avoid disturbing the neighbors or guests should be out by a certain time. It all depends on each of your needs and preferences so talk it over.
5. Shared Spaces
You and your roommate have to share bathrooms, kitchens, and the like. So, to avoid skirmishes over who goes first or who uses what, agree on a schedule or a plan. For instance, set schedules when you go into the bathroom first and vice versa. Or agree on who’s cooking for which days or if you’re both cooking for your own. This way, you won’t start building up resentment over the little things.
6. Accidents or Mistakes
Accidents or mistakes are inevitable. You or your roomie might break a glass or a vase or mess something up. The best way to handle this is to own up to it, apologize, and offer a remedy. Pretending it didn’t happen is only going to make it worse. At the same time, if you have something really valuable to you, keep it in a safe spot like your room.
It’s not impossible to live with another person comfortably even if they are almost a perfect stranger to you. The key to that is communication. Make sure that you know and understand each other’s needs. And be ready to compromise. That’s what sharing a home is all about.