How To Be A Super Effective Roommate

By Elana Goodwin on July 10, 2016

If you live with other people or are planning to this coming school year, you know (or should know) how important it is to be a good roommate to those you share a house, apartment, or room with.

Being positive, helpful, and respectful will ensure harmony in your home as your roomies will take their cues from you and treat you in the same manner you treat them and their things. Here are some tips on how to be an effective and good roommate.

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1. Schedule roomie bonding time. You don’t have to be and won’t necessarily be best friends with your roommate or roomies — but it’s still important to be friendly with them and get along. Scheduling bonding time so you can hang out together, talk, and become friends, will make your home a more positive and welcoming place that you feel more comfortable in.

Figure out a night that works for you and your roomie and plan to do something together — it can be going out to eat, hitting a bar, doing some shopping, taking a walk, watching a movie, attending a paint night, etc., as long as you’ll be doing it with each other and it’s an activity that will leave you feeling that much closer.

Try to organize a bonding night or day at least twice a month or so, depending on your schedules, so your relationship continues to grow and starts to become a real friendship.

2. Offer support. College can be hard and stressful, especially when you factor in juggling a job, a romantic relationship, homework, and other activities that you and/or your roommates might be occupied with. Show your roommate you care and offer support and a listening ear. When your roommate comes home from class or work, ask how their day was and really listen to what they have to say.

Sometimes it’s not about giving advice or trying to fix things, but just acknowledging how they’re feeling and what’s going on with them, and making sure they know that you’re there for them when and if they need you.

3. Make your roommate dinner. Even if you’re not exactly the next great chef, everyone loves to be able to come home or into the kitchen and have yummy dinner prepared for their enjoyment. You don’t have to make a gourmet meal or even go all-out; you can just make something along the lines of easy comfort food that’s simple to make, will go farther, and is universally liked.

Making your roommate dinner is an easy way to show you care, that you thought of them, and wanted to do something nice so it’s one more thing they don’t have to worry about doing for a night. If neither of you will have time to sit down and eat together, fix up a plate and bring it to them in their room so they can eat and work; it’ll show you’re aware of how much they have going on and want to be sure they have something to eat, even if they don’t have time to make it and aren’t able to step away to gobble it down.

4. Communicate. One of the easiest ways to be a good roommate is to simply communicate with your other roomies. Rather than expecting your roommates to read your mind and meet your expectations, be clear and talk to them so there are no misunderstandings. If your roommate did something you’re unhappy about or has acted like a bad roommate in some way, don’t be passive aggressive and shy away from confrontation because that’ll just make things worse and the situation will get blown out of proportion.

Approach your roomie and tell them what’s bothering you or what you’d appreciate they did in the future so living together is that much better — when the lines of communication are open, both of you will feel more comfortable expressing yourselves and feel that much happier in your home and with your roommate.

5. Be mindful. Perhaps the best way to be a good roommate is to simply treat your roomie how you’d want to be treated and be considerate when it comes to your home and habits. Don’t leave a mess in a shared area, don’t take or use your roommate’s stuff without asking, don’t blast your music late at night, don’t take forever in the bathroom or not replenish the toilet paper — basically, refrain from doing things you’d be unhappy with if your roommate did it to you.

And if for some reason you do have to say, leave a mess in the living room for a few nights because you’re working on a project, or had a super bad day and just want to take a long hot shower to wash the day away, go back to rule #4 and communicate these things with your roomie so they know to expect the living room to be a bit messy or that they won’t be able to get into the bathroom for a while.

Adhering to these five simple tips can really make your living with others a better experience — simply be the best roomie you can be and your roommate will follow your lead.

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