New Roommates? 7 Cardinal Rules You Should Establish On Day One

There are some things you need to go over with new roommates

Flickr user Matt Rodick

You may have got things covered when it comes to your start-of-semester academic prep but are you ready for the challenges new roommates may bring? To maximize your chances of a harmonious roommate relationship, you need honest communication and a fair bit of compromise. You also need to agree on a few cardinal rules. Here are the seven questions you need to ask yourselves in order to establish them.

To share or not to share?

There’s nothing worse than heading to your stash of sweet treats to find that your roommate has devoured the last of your cookies. Establish the level of food sharing you’re both happy with at the start of your roommate relationship. This could even mean going 50/50 on all food, cooking for each other, and eating together.

How will we pay for essentials?

You don’t want to feel like you’re constantly reaching into your own pocket for the essentials you and your roommate share. You could start a joint money pot for the items you both use, available when either of you nip out to the store. If you’re doing this, it’s also important to agree on what you both consider those essential items to be.

How will we keep the room clean and tidy?

A common bugbear for college students is the level of tidiness expected by their roomie. Establish from the outset whether you and your roommate like to keep things neat and tidy or have a more laissez-faire attitude to mess. If you’re at either ends of the scale, work to create a compromise. A realistic cleaning schedule is a good way to set your ideas down as a reference.

Are visitors allowed?

Before your roommate gets his or her heart set on a friend from home coming to stay for the weekend, work out how both of you feel about visitors. Are you happy for visitors to stay the night? Are you happy for boyfriends/girlfriends to stay the night? Discuss all of this openly from the outset then neither of you needs to feel ousted from your own room.

What are our morning schedules?

You need to establish a morning schedule that works for both of you. Each pick a time for using the bathroom. And, if your roommate likes to go for an early morning run whilst you like to savour every last second of sleep, ask your roommate to set a quieter alarm so they don’t disturb you when they get up.

How are we going to keep our room secure?

This may seem like an obvious one but it’s important to make sure you and your roommate are on the same page when it comes to the security of your room. Set rules on closing windows, locking doors and always taking keys so you can be confident of securing your room without locking your roommate out. Safety online is also important. If you’re using a shared Wi-Fi connection, an accidental malware download could affect all connected computers so discuss internet security too.

What kind of study environment do each of us prefer?

Is your room a place to study or to relax? Do you like to work in complete silence or with a little music in the background? Discuss each other’s study habits and work out how much compromise is going to be necessary. If study habits seem incompatible, you could maybe take turns to work in the library.

Getting to know a new roommate can be lots of fun. By putting the right ground rules in place, you’ll reduce the chances of coming to blows with your roomie and increase the chances of becoming firm friends.

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