Anyone who has lived with at least a few roommates has been there: you met someone, got along well, and decided to shack up together. But when it came to living together, it didn’t end up working out as well as either of you had hoped. However, there are some ways to remedy that.
First of all, simply let one another know what type of expectations you have for your living situation. Ideally this is done at the start of the move-in, but can be done later on if problems arise. Set a list of rules and boundaries. This should include things about food sharing (or not sharing), having people over, noise levels, general cleanliness, and more. Some roommates may want to make out an actual paper agreement with all the rules, but some might feel that’s too impersonal. Just make sure that both or all roommates know and understand all the rules.
There should probably be a time set each week or month where every roommate sits down and talks about whether or not you feel that each roommate has kept up their end of the bargain as far as the rules go. Make sure this is a place for open discussion without negative attitudes or hostility and is a place for you and your roommates to make the living situation better for all of you. Also, this is a good time to bring up if you think a part of the agreement should be altered or removed, or a new part added. Remember, this isn’t a time to incite conflict, but to resolve it and make the living situation better for the both of you.
Of course, some problems you have with a roommate can be solved in a much more fun way: just getting to know each other better! Talk about your favorite hobbies and interests, and when you find out what you have in common, do it together. Do you both like movies? Show each other your favorites and critique them. Maybe you noticed your roommate has a lot of books on the shelf? Bring up some of your favorites sometime and see where the conversation goes. The interests don’t have to be common by any means, either. You all could pick a night of the week where you each introduce one another to one of your personal interests. Whatever it is, doing things together will improve communication which helps in any relationship, not just between you and your roommates.
Essentially, just remember that nobody is generally trying to make the living situation worse. Usually it’s a matter of misunderstanding or just a difference of opinion. This is usually solved by a simple discussion with open, honest discourse, but rarely with non-communication and passive aggressiveness. Keep these tips in mind and hopefully you’ll have not only a roommate but a great friend too.