Avoiding roomie conflicts and improving living conditions
By Mercedes Deutscher, Staff Writer
Do you participate in a bro-habitation? Do you have a female flatmate? How about a co-ed bunk bed?
For many college students, in order to make ends meet, their first home away from home will be shared with roommates. There are plenty of advantages to sharing living accommodations, such as saving money, making new friends or building on old friendships, and being in a more accessible area.
It may not always be smooth sailing onboard the S. S. Roommate. Sometimes, you’ll be plagued by the rancid roommate, otherwise known as That Guy. That Guy doesn’t take into consideration that they share a space with one or more tenants. They will leave the suite in a disaster, not do their share of chores, won’t respect already limited privacy, borrow things without asking, or even slack on their share of the bills. Putting it bluntly, That Guy will not be easy to live with, and will be the source of constant conflict throughout an otherwise harmonious living space.
That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting into when deciding to share a residence with someone. When you and your potential roommate are first organizing a future living situation, make it clear to all parties involved what their privileges and responsibilities are. Will the bills be split evenly between roommates? Will one pay for Internet and another pay for cable? Is everyone responsible for their own food, or will everyone pitch in for groceries? These are among many important responsibilities when (almost) living out on your own. Clarifying these factors early and holding everyone accountable to their own tasks could eliminate (or at least tone down) any future conflicts.
I’m not your mom nagging you to clean up, but common areas such as the living room and kitchen should be kept orderly. This could be done by cleaning up after oneself or by assigning rooms to each resident to care for. If you invited a date over (after asking for your roommate’s permission, of course!), I’m sure old pizza boxes or dirty clothes wouldn’t be a great first impression.
Although finding privacy in a multi-person household may be difficult, everyone should at least have some sort of private area. No one should intrude on this area without the occupant’s permission. A similar rule should apply to an individual’s belongings: nothing should be borrowed without consent. Doing so could cause discomfort, mistrust, or potentially criminal charges. All in all, it’s easier to just ask.
Hopefully by setting some ground rules early, the S. S. Roommate will neither capsize nor wash ashore, and all the shipmates will sail on smoothly.