First-Time Roommate Tips – How to Get Along with a New Roommate

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The first-time you live with a roommate it can be a strange and awkward experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether it’s a college roommate or  a roommate in the first place you can call your own, these first-time roommate tips will help make sure you get along with your roommate and settle into your new home quickly and comfortably. 

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Whether it’s in in your first place or your first year at college, you want to be able to live harmoniously with your roommate. These simple tips will help make the transition to living with a roommate much easier. 

First Time Roommate Tips

How to Get Along with a New Roommate

If you are moving in with a friend or classmate, you’re probably excited to decorate your new space and to get into the fun aspects of living together, like movie nights, game nights and cooking together! But with any new situation, there can be a few challenges that might arise during this process. With the right insights you can avoid any roadblocks or misunderstandings as you move in with your new roommate, allowing you to enjoy your space and your company.

Make a Roommate Contract

Even if it seems unnecessary and you believe you and your roommate agree on everything, you should always sit down and have a conversation about expectations. You’ll be sharing close quarters and there may be small quirks and habits to get used to in your partner. It’s important to be honest during this process, but also kind, patient and understanding. Explain to your partner how you feel about keeping your space tidy, your feelings about having guests over, and sharing your belongings. Once you’ve laid out your personal preferences and expectations, write down your agreed upon rules in a shared roommate contract. It’s not a document that you have to hang in your room or apartment, but you should keep a copy in case you can’t remember how your roommate feels about different scenarios that may come up. By having this conversation early on, you’ll avoid minor conflicts and have a deeper understanding of you roommate’s feelings and will help foster a mutual respect.

Topics for a Roommate Agreement

  • Designated Spaces
  • Temperature Ranges
    • Summer
    • Winter
  • Agreed Upon Quiet Hours
  • Guidelines for Guests
    • How Many
    • What Days and Hours
    • How Often
    • Will You Give Each Other Notice Before Guests Come over
  • What Items You Both Agree Will Be Shared
    • TV
    • Refridgerator
    • Microwave
    • Closet
    • Food
  • What Items Won’t Be Shared
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • How to Resolve Dispuits
people unpacking and woman with clipboard and checklist

Talk about Decor

When you have a place of your own, whether it is just a room, an entire house or an apartment, decorating and making it your own can be one of the most enjoyable and exciting aspects. If you are sharing a common space with another person, you should try to exchange interior design ideas before you move in, so you know everything that you will need. You’ll have to agree on what furniture pieces you will need based on the activities that you both enjoy and the amount of space you have, like comfy living room furniture to watch movies on, or a writing desk to share. For decorations, you could create a joint Pinterest page to see what colors and themes you would both enjoy. Another great idea is to hang photos or art that showcases your shared interests, like a gallery-wall with photos of joint friends and memories or a penant from your college. You can also work on DIY crafts together, or pick out decorations at your local department store. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you include your roommate to make your combined areas comfortable for both of you.

Personal Space

The biggest adjustment when first living with another person is ensuring that you are both getting enough personal space, alone time, and time to entertain guests. This can be trickier if you have to share a room as well as other personal areas in your apartment. Always try to stay tuned into your roommate’s emotions and how often you might be using shared areas. If your roommate is going through a difficult time, give them more space and cut them more slack than you might normally. If you recognize that you’ve had friends over in your common room a few nights in a row, check in with your roommate to make sure they are okay with having guests in the house so frequently. Personal space as well as peace and quiet are all important to staying emotional recharged and mentally healthy. Maintain an open dialogue on the subject of personal needs as it relates to your space, so that you avoid any misunderstandings and you ensure you are both getting the most out of your room, apartment or home. You may want to try this Easy College Organizing Tip.

To have the best possible roommate experience you and your roommate need:

  • To have patience
  • To show kindness and thoughtfulness
  • To give the other person the benefit of the doubt (don’t assume the worst)
  • Be appreciative and thankful
  • Be kindly honest
  • Be committed to finding a solution that both of you can be satisfied with

What first-time roommate tips do you think are important to getting along with a new roommate?

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2 Comments

  1. The common theme to me here is to talk about expectations. Once things are out in the open, everyone gets a chance to express concerns and negotiate how things will work. Having that contract is so helpful because it is an objective record of things all parties have agreed to. Often it is the little things (e.g. dishes in the sink) that can really drive a wedge in a shared living relationship. Very timely and helpful post!

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