Off-Campus Living 101: Loving Your Roommates

The new school year is beginning for many college students, and while living on campus the first year or two can be a blast (when else will you make dozens of new BFFs just by living in the same hall?), living off campus has perks of its own.

Renting your own place means you’ll have a lot more privacy (no more sharing a bathroom with 20+ hallmates) and a lot more freedom (your place = your rules). But it doesn’t necessarily mean leaving life with roommates behind.

Once you’ve settled into your new home, you’ll get the most from your roommate experience by starting out with clear expectations, making communication a priority and remaining flexible. Here’s how to make it work:

Set the tone

You can avoid some obvious roommate pitfalls by clearly stating what you want and want you don’t want. If a messy kitchen stresses you out, say so. If you need to get up early every morning, let your roommates know you’re nervous about potential late-night visitors waking you up.

By making your needs and preferences known upfront, you can stop some potential problems before they even start.

Speak up

The most important thing you can do is keep the lines of communication open. If something’s bugging you, tell your roomie about it. If you avoid bringing things up as they happen, resentments can build to the point that they explode.

To make communicating easy, try setting up ground rules for addressing household issues. Even scheduling regular roommate check-ins can help avoid grievances and will make negotiating solutions easier.

Share the burden

Cleaning duties and other household responsibilities can be a source of friction. Make sure you don’t end up fighting over chores by setting up a chore chart when you first move in. Fairly splitting up work and clearly designating who is responsible for what makes daily life with a roommate a whole lot better. Apps like Chorma let you coordinate chores among each of you and even earn points by completing tasks.

Compromise

None of us gets our way all the time. You’ll save yourself a lot of grief by remembering that. Identify issues that are non-negotiable and others you’re willing to budge on. And every so often be willing to give in just because you can. Putting up with a cluttered desk is better than living with someone who’s mad at you.

Moving off campus and living with your BFFs can be an exciting new adventure when approached from the proper perspective. Follow these tips and you’ll be binge-watching your favorite Netflix series together in your new space in no time.

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