It's that word again: Communication. Talking about things up front can save you a lot of frustration and disappointment later on. Pick a time to sit down and discuss your views on cleaning, sharing, and your individual sleeping, socializing, and study habits.
One of the biggest areas of roommate conflict is cleaning. You may be the kind of person who doesn't notice a mess until the flies are buzzing and you can't find your desk beneath the junk, but your roommate may be just the opposite. It's helpful to sit down together when you first move in and work out a schedule for what chores need to be done and how often - things like vacuuming and taking out the trash. Find a standard of "clean" you can both agree on.
Another big area of roommate conflict is sharing. Set out boundaries at the beginning about what things you're going to share. While you might be fine if your roommate rummages through your closet for the dustbuster, your roommate might see that as a huge invasion of personal space. And even if your roommate says it's fine to use her printer when you ask, she might not be okay with your using it when she's out of the room. Talk about all the potential issues, like who pays for paper and toner. And when it doubt, always ask permission. Don't just borrow the CD or eat the cookies if you haven't talked about it ahead of time.
Sleeping, socializing, and study habits
Even if you're a night owl and your roommate is an early riser, conflict doesn't have to result - but compromise will. Take some time to figure out your individual sleeping, socializing and study habits, and work out basic rules you can both agree on. And that doesn't mean telling your roommate if she doesn't like your boyfriend sleeping over that she can sleep elsewhere. It means something that meets both your needs. Some key questions to ask are:
- What time do you usually go to sleep and get up in the morning?
- Can you sleep with music playing? The lights on? The windows open?
- Can you study with the TV on? Music playing? People talking?
- How late is too late for guests in the room? Telephone calls?
- How do you feel about overnight guests?