Whether you’re going from living with family or from living alone, moving in with a roommate for the first time can be a combination of stressful, exciting, worrying, and relaxing. These emotions all come from different places, some financial, some social, and some from a place of general anxiety.
Wherever these feelings are coming from, they can have an effect on your day to day life. Until you’ve settled in to living with someone else, you might be worried about this situation more than seems necessary. To help offset this concern, we have put together a guide on how to survive living with a roommate for the first time, in the hopes it will ease your burdened mind in the days and weeks to come.
Sharing a space with someone seems like something that wouldn’t have too many issues until you realise that this means sharing your space with someone. If you’ve been living alone until now, you could be thinking of this space as yours even after your new roommate moves in, which is where conflicts can start. Remember, if they’re sharing the bills and the rent, the space is now equally theirs, and should be treated as such.
Pick up after yourself, and make sure they pick up after themselves too, and things should start off smoothly. Make sure you clearly define what is their space and what is yours within the confines of the home, and what is and isn’t ok as far as encroaching in your space goes. Having clear boundaries will help to dissolve any uncertainties, and will make conflicts few and far between.
Communicating with your new housemate is key, because neither you nor they are mind readers. If you’re unhappy that they haven’t done their share of the housework, or the dishes, sit down with them and have a discussion about it. It doesn’t have to be hostile, it doesn’t have to be confronting, it just has to be clear and open communication from one person to another. If troubles arise from this, you can continue to have open communication from that point on, and a calm discussion is always better than an emotional blowout.
Your room is your own, and their is their own as well. Remembering this rule isn’t optional, it’s a must. Someone who invites someone else to come live with them has to respect their personal space. Even if you’ve left something in their room that you need to grab, call them and ask first. It’s not even a matter of “if you were ok with it assume they would be”, it’s much safer to always assume your roommate would not be ok with you going through their room, so make sure to respect their space always.
Ease Into It
Easing into the living situation is the best way to go, as you don’t want to shock yourself or them with the sudden moving-in day. Have them move their stuff in slowly, pack your stuff away slowly, and get used to the idea of living with someone slowly. It can help to get matching flexible tubs for you and your new roommate to store important documents or bills in, as it shows you’re both in this together. You will get used to having someone around all the time, it will just take a while.
With these tips, your roommate can become a bigger part of your life without threatening the friendship you had before moving in together. It’s important to keep these tips in mind when dealing with your new roommate, and the importance of open, clear communication cannot be overstated.