Tips on How to Live with Roommates
Here at FUS, there’s a LOT of different dorm possibilities. Single, double, triple with or without separate rooms, apartments for six rooms… all of it, really. Most FUS students get to experience a few of those arrangements during their time here, so this article may be helpful to them or incoming students. Without these tips, I had to learn from hands-on experience! I had my own room back home so it was definitely different.
This article touches on a few tips which I’ve learned from my current experience as someone in Panera… which if you don’t know has a shared bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living space. My roommates and I have made this work, but not without communicating and understanding the social cues we give off.
1. Decide together what spaces belong to who
So.. there's a book space. Who has which shelves? In the bathroom, where is each person able to store their stuff? Be prepared to sacrifice space in areas you don’t really care about but others do, it’s only courteous. In regards to kitchenware, in my opinion, it’s best to have pots, pans, bowls all belong to everyone. Some personal mugs or cups make sense, but if there isn’t an excess. Why not share them? In regards to the refrigerator and food, be prepared to at times share in order to not overlap. Take turns buying the milk.
Overall, it’s still up to everyone’s personal preference, but I see that these strategies work well with most people.
2. Know what your roommate's pet peeves are from the beginning
Make this one of the first questions you and your roommates get out of the way. For example, I’m a pretty messy person but for the most part, I keep my mess in my space to not bother others. Little pet peeves are important too. Like if you don’t like having hair left up on the shower walls (one of mine) or having the doors of the wardrobe open (one of my roommates’... I gotta work on that). You’ve got to respect people’s pet peeves, but it makes sense if not everything is done perfectly. People make mistakes and it takes a while to adopt a good habit. Just try to work on it.
Also… communicate. I cannot stress that enough. Even if something sounds silly, it’s important. You’re living with someone and that’s a pretty big deal and responsibility in my book.
3. Check with them before bringing people over (unless otherwise decided)
As an introvert living with introverts, this is a pretty big one in our book. Lots of people use their dorm as a recharge for their social battery, so having more people over when they’re not expecting it can be off-putting. It’s important to check-in, and just that nice gesture may be enough for people to easily comply. Apartments have many rooms, so people can dip in one if they’re not feeling like interacting with others. This is probably easier for dorms in which people have their own rooms, but for those in Panera, it’s especially important to check-in.
Figure out whether you and your roommates are okay with a simple text informing or if asking for permission is necessary.
4. Give each other space when needed
Everyone needs space, even the most affectionate of people will need a breather at some point. So this is when reading people’s body language is extremely important. Are they tired? Probably not the best time. Exhausted from schoolwork? See if there’s any way you can help, but if not step away for a bit. Do they look like they need a hug? Ask. If you’re not sure, it may be best to wait a bit before approaching. Fortunately, with time it gets easier to sense each other's social energy levels.
Simply remember that everyone's social battery is different and people need recharge time. Also, people process their stresses differently. Learn each other's preferred ways of comfort if you’re at that level.
5. Learn how to share expenses
This tip goes in line with the first tip and I’d think it’s pretty obvious. However, I’ve heard stories of how people don’t pay their share of toiletries, grocery bags, etc, and it’s not okay. If it’s been a while since you’ve bought the necessities go and do it before someone has to ask you. If your roommate has to get to the point of asking you to pay your part, they might feel taken advantage of. You can come back from this, just take the high road and understand their frustration. But at the end of the day, try to not take it personally if they bring up an issue.
If your roommate brings an issue to light, appreciate it. They don’t want to be resentful but instead fix the problem together.
Overall, remember to communicate and compromise. Be open and make some sacrifices if necessary, but only if they’re willing to as well. Think about what’s most important to you and make it apparent to those you’re living with. All these tips have one thing in common: it’s necessary to put the effort in so you live in a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment.
P.S. If your roommate tells you to throw away your ramen wrapper it doesn’t mean she hates you. She just wants you to throw away your ramen wrapper. But hey, we’re all human. We all make mistakes and those who care will forgive them once you make an effort to change your bad habits. Totally not a personal experience... Not my proudest moment.
So it’s important to throw away your ramen wrapper. Your roommate will appreciate it.
To our next meet-up via the web!
Ci vediamo presto!
(We will see each other soon),