Choosing to rent a room in Brooklyn or anywhere else for that matter means you will have to deal with roommates. The first step in building a successful roommate relationship: keep the lines of communication open. Whether you have one roommate or five, it is not always easy or comfortable to discuss concerns. People are especially stressed over bringing up potentially awkward topics like finances and personal hygiene. But ignoring the issue is not the best way to deal with it.
Here are some tips on achieving and maintaining great roommate
A Good Beginning
Like almost anything else in life, it is important to start off on the right foot even if your roommate is not new to you. Even if you are moving in with your best friend since your kindergarten days; having never lived together before means you are bound to find out about a habit of theirs that you were unaware of and simply can’t stand and vice-versa. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries from the beginning.
Be direct and clear about where you stand on the major issues co-living brings up. Don’t assume that your roommate knows what you are thinking or where you stand on something, and you don’t want to wait until a problem comes up to set some rules. Below are a few topics you should definitely touch on:
Visitors – Are friends and/or significant others permitted? If yes, are overnight visitors okay, or should all guests be gone by a certain time? Will guests need to be announced ahead of time?
Chores – Creating a chore list can be helpful. You can even rotate it weekly if you find it fairer. Teamwork and persistence really counts here.
Expenses – Deciding who will pay which bills need to be established, but there are other expenses as well. Who will pay for items that you all use like garbage bags and toilet paper?
Food – Will you pitch in and share food? If yes, will there be a problem with friends eating over? Should the pantry and fridge be split with each roomie having their own designated areas?
Specifics – Is smoking or drinking permitted in the home? Are pets allowed? What time should the radio and television be off at night or any noise concerns? Are there any morning rules?
Voice Your Concerns
When an issue arises, if you don’t tell your roommate that there is a problem, he or she won’t be able to do anything about it. You want to avoid a couple of things when voicing your concerns.
Do not wait and let the irritation you feel get to the point where you end up screaming at your roommate. Remember they didn’t know this was an issue, so you’ll just end up looking crazy and dramatic.
Don’t discuss it behind their backs. This may be tempting if there are other roommates or a mutual friend who shares your frustrations. All this will do is cause a breakdown in trust and a rise in tension at home.
When bringing up an issue, speak directly to who you are having an issue with and make sure you do it as soon as you can.
Respect Each Other’s Differences
Everyone has different values, lifestyles, expectations and communication styles. Get to know each other and establish common ground. It is easier to solve a problem with a friend than a stranger. Also keep in mind NO ONE IS PERFECT. It is possible that something you do is the source of irritation for your roommates.
When you find yourself being asked to change some behavior or to be more considerate in some way, stay calm and try not to feel attacked. Compromise is important in effective communication. Listen to what is being said and try to find the win-win scenario in every problem, so that everyone feels heard and gets what they want to some degree.
Keeping communication lines open can increase your survival rate tenfold