Important Roommate Discussions
Well, folks. We are entering the summertime, which also happens to be the height of the moving/rental world. College students are moving into their new digs to prepare for a new school year, millennials are renewing leases or changing locations, and some families are looking for cheaper residences due to a dip to their finances.
But if you belong to the prior two groups, you may be finding yourself getting ready to move in with new roommates. We’ve already covered the process of how to find new roommates during the coronavirus pandemic, but now it’s time to start talking to those roommates before, and/or at the start, of your lease. What are some important conversations to have? Check out our list below.
1. Conflict Resolution
One major aspect you should know about your new roommates is how they communicate. How do they like to get their point across? Are they worriers who express every concern that comes to mind? Are they energetic and personable people who like to directly confront an issue? Are they the type to keep problems to themselves?
Conflict resolution is an important discussion to have. Knowing how your roommates handle issues will help you to create a stable and comfortable household. If you haven’t already, ask your roommates how they deal with conflict and tell them how you handle it. Then, start a discussion around the issue.
Transparent communication is key to any good relationship.
2. Bathroom Rules
From there, it’s best to talk about any necessary rules based on each room. First, start with the bathroom. Some people consider the bathroom to be the cleanest room in the house. Some, are not so strict. Which side do you land on? Which side does your roommate land on?
Also, what’s the rule on cleaning? Is there a schedule? Is it an “If you see it, you clean it” policy?” And where are you going to put all your shampoos, lotions, medicine, and more? Talk about it!
3. Living Room Rules
From there, you have to talk about the common room areas. Living together means sharing some spaces together, and it will be important to discuss how you will live in those spaces. What are the party rules for the house? Any rules for guests? When do things need to be cleaned and who’s doing them?
Other questions: Which items are for the house to share and use and which ones are meant for one person specifically? Are there times when certain people need to use the living room space (for whatever reason)? What pieces of furniture can you bring to the house? Would you be willing to split the cost of buying new furniture?
These are just a few of the many questions you should ask.
4. Kitchen Rules
Now moving onto the kitchen, you’ll want to establish the cleaning rules for this area too. After that, it’s time to tackle the fridge and cabinets. Don’t think softly of space wars in the house. They can cause many fights, so establish rules and boundaries early.
Can you create segments in the fridge where each person can put their stuff? Can you do the same for the cabinets? Who can pitch in to buy new pots and pans? What other appliances are needed for the house? Is there a house fund for buying some small ingredients like onions and garlic? Is it a policy for everyone to just buy some from time to time? Or, is everyone out for themselves?
Ultimately, the kitchen is another part of the house that can come with many rules, spoken or unspoken, so it’s better to establish them early.
5. Common Living Rules
Next, you’ll want to talk about any remaining issues topics that could affect the way you all live together. Financial stuff comes first. How do you pay rent and utilities? Who will be paying what and how will the others pay them back?
After that, move on to dates and partners. This is different than general guests because romantic guests can bring a lot more to the household. How often are partners around to stick around? Some partners end up becoming extra roommates. Are you ok with that?
Also, are you comfortable with your roommates bringing dates and hookups home? All important questions to ask them and yourself.
Then, volume is an important issue to discuss. Whether it’s music played in your room or in common spaces, the volume of you and your guests, or the volume of you and your sexual guests, you should generally keep a “be courteous of your roommates” policy. But, some households and roommates have a higher or lower threshold for that. Ask your roommates to see what they think.
As an aside, if you are attracted to your roommate, it might be a good idea to get the truth out in the open. I'm just saying.
Lastly, what are some hobbies that your roommates enjoy? Are they into geek/fandom culture? Are they into working out? Are they into art, TV shows, or anything else? This is more of a light topic to discuss but it can help you to get to know your roommate more and understand what your household will be like.
Who knows, you might share an interest.
Overall, you just want to make sure that you talk to your roommates. Get to know them and what they are looking for in a household before or at the start of the new lease. That way, you can ensure a communicative and easy living situation for however long that lease may last.
Do you have experience with roommates? If so, share your tips below.