How to Transition From Living Alone to Living With Roommates

By Alyssa Laffitte on September 23, 2017

One of the biggest transitions you make in your college life is the transition from living alone to living with roommates. Living alone has its advantages, such as freedom. However, it also has its disadvantages. It can get very lonely very quickly if you live by yourself.

Because of that, it’s not uncommon for students to make the transition from living alone to living with roommates. So here are some tips to successfully make this transition.

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Communicate with your roommate

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but when you live with someone, you have to at least be polite and communicate with them. If you see her in the morning before you leave for class, say “Good morning.”

Say hello if you see her around. If you are going to the store, ask if she needs anything. Don’t treat her like she is invisible.

Let your roommate know where you are

It’s a good safety practice to let someone else (whether they are your roommate or not) know where you are if you decide to go out. This doesn’t mean that roommate has to be your mom. You don’t have to ask her permission to do anything, but it’s still a good idea to let her know what you’re up to.

For example, let her know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. This way, she’ll know not to worry if you’re still not back by a certain time. I know this from personal experience!

Establish a set of rules and follow them

One way to prevent conflicts with your roommate is to establish a set of rules beforehand and follow these rules. There’s a reason “roommate contracts” are so popular. If followed by both parties, they do prevent conflicts. Sit down with your roommate and talk about what’s important to you in terms of having a peaceful living space. Write a contract based on these values.

Some questions you can ask to get the conversation started are:

•Who cleans what? And when?

•Who will take out the trash?

•Who can stay overnight? How far in advance should you notify each other of overnight guests?

•Are you allowed to eat each other’s food?

•Until what time can you make noise?

Take the time to talk about these things. It could save you many conflicts in the future.

Keep the space clean (especially shared spaces!)

Out of respect for your roommate, try to keep the space clean, especially the shared spaces. You don’t know if having a messy space stresses her out, or if she plans to have people over later (of course, she should tell you in advance, but you might not have time to clean up). Don’t leave your dirty dishes or your trash out in the living room.

Learn your roommate’s schedule

Learning your roommate’s schedule is convenient for a few reasons. First, you’ll know when she’s not in the room so you can have some quiet time for yourself. When she’s in class, you can be studying in the room (or house) in peace or getting some much-needed sleep.

Conversely, you’ll know when she will be in the room. If you need to study by yourself during those hours, you will know to go to the library or another quiet place. Second, you’ll know when she has early morning classes, so you’ll know when to be quiet at night. Lastly, you’ll know when to expect her back (just like the previous point on letting her know where you are). Of course, these same things go for her.

Have the uncomfortable financial conversations early

Sure, living with a roommate can be less expensive than living alone, but finances are still an important factor in your living situation. You and your roommate will need to have a discussion about the bills you will need to pay. Before a financial conflict arises, come to an agreement as to who pays what.

Will you go halfsies on your bills? Or will one of you be responsible for certain bills while the other is responsible for the rest? Having this conversation ensures that you both know your financial situations and that no surprises come up when it’s time to pay the bills. It might be uncomfortable to talk about finances, but it’s worth the security of having a plan.

Overall, respect your roommate and the space you share

Remember that you are now sharing a space with someone else. Take care of the place and treat your roommate well.

Living alone has its benefits, but it also has its disadvantages. If you live alone and you are getting lonely, consider living with a roommate. It will take some time to get used to living with someone else, but having a built-in friend (or at least an acquaintance) will be worth it.

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