Having roommates is a great way to save money in college, as you’re getting started in your career, or just because! However, try as you might, you may not have the ideal living situation when you choose to live with roommates. Common areas such as the living room, bathrooms, and kitchen can become dirtier more quickly. You may also find yourself doing more work than your roommates or struggling to maintain your privacy.
Even with roommates, you have the right to your privacy and peace and quiet. Follow these roommate tips for a happier living situation for everyone!
Roommate Tips to Maintain Your Privacy
Set Clear Boundaries
Most people can pick up on social cues and know when not to bother another person. However, others are not so quick to pick up on things. If your roommates are constantly disrupting your privacy, you may have to set explicit boundaries.
These boundaries may include rules for the bathroom, how comfortable you are with your roommates being around when a partner is over, and what it means when your bedroom door is open vs closed. Get to know their schedules as well so you can plan times when you know you’ll have the apartment to yourself.
If you’re living with close friends, it can be hard to say no. However, one of our most important roommate tips is learning to do so. Doing so will allow you to maintain your privacy and not feel exhausted from constantly hanging out with your roommates. It’s okay to say no to a movie night if you just want some time to yourself. Tell your roommate/friend no and offer to watch a movie another time when you’re feeling up to it. If they’re a good friend they’ll respect your decision and privacy.
Determine a Guest Policy
Everyone enjoys having friends over, but what if it becomes a frequent experience? Setting a policy for guests may feel you’re being a Debby Downer, but it’s an important element to living with roommates. Just asking to be notified when a roommate is planning on having guests over is enough to be prepared and feel like your privacy is being respected. If they want to have guests over late at night when you have to be up early the next day, feel free to say no. They should be able to go to another apartment or a restaurant instead.
What Can be Borrowed (and what can’t)?
The line between what’s yours and what’s theirs can get a bit blurry. Items in the kitchen and living room are typically free for everyone to use unless it’s food. Some people like to mark their food with colored duct tape to know who owns what or designate a cabinet for each roommate. For items like milk, eggs, and bread, you can choose to each buy your own or have a rotating system of who will buy those items.
Sometimes your roommate may want to borrow something in your room, though. Set guidelines for when they’re allowed in your room. Let them know if they need to ask first or if they’re not allowed in your room while you’re not home. Whatever your boundaries are, stand by them to maintain your privacy.
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