Roommates hanging out in the living room

15 Ways to Be a Good Roommate

You’ve lived with your parents and possibly your siblings for almost your entire life, so living with your first roommate can’t be that different, right? Wrong. The dynamic between you and your roommate will be starkly different than the one between you and your family, even if your roommate is one of your close friends. You can’t guarantee that they will be a respectful, courteous person to live with, but you can increase those chances by being one yourself and starting this relationship on the right foot.

  1. Don’t eat your roommate's leftover fried rice or borrow her copy of Frozen without asking, unless you’ve worked out a “sharing agreement” beforehand.
  2. Do clean up after yourself. You don’t have to be a neat freak, but restrict your slob-ness to your own room or your own half of the room.
  3. Don’t have guests over every night. They don’t live there. You and your roommate do, and your roommate won’t want to feel like he's living with several people instead of just you.
  4. Do provide common items, like a coffee maker or TV. Your roommate shouldn’t have to furnish everything that will be used by both of you.
  5. Don’t hog the common items, even if they’re yours. If you put something in the common area, your roommate is entitled to equal use of it.
  6. Do cut your roommate some slack. It’s probably his first time living with another person too, so be flexible if he ate your last box of Bagel Bites that one time. You’ll probably mess up too at some point.
  7. Do communicate. It’s inevitable that there will be issues arise between you two, and the only way they will be solved peacefully is through constructive communication, not passive-aggressiveness.
  8. Do set rules and stick to them. If you initially agreed on quiet time after 10 pm on weeknights, don’t have all your friends over to drink because your morning class was cancelled.
  9. Don’t take out your frustrations on your roommate. Venting to your roommate is okay, as long as you don’t do it all the time, but don’t let out your anger on her just because she's there.
  10. Do be polite. Just because this person has probably seen you at your best and your worst, that doesn’t mean you can forget your manners when speaking to him.
  11. Do compromise, but not too much. In order to be on common ground, you’ll probably have to sacrifice some of your preferences, but don’t let her walk all over you.
  12. Don’t exclude your roommate. If you want to develop a friendship or at least a cordial relationship with him then don’t leave him out.  Invite him to come to a movie with you and your friends or simply hang out at home together once in a while.
  13. Do thoughtful things for your roommate. If you know she has a big test coming up, buy her favorite candy bar and soda, attach a ‘good luck’ note to it, and give it to her the day of the test. She'll appreciate it and will reciprocate when you need some support in the future.
  14. Do remember that even if you don’t get along that well, the year you have to live with your roommate really isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things.
  15. Do know that being roommates can potentially lead to being best friends, mere acquaintances, or sometimes even active animosities. Choose wisely.
Last Updated: September 04, 2015