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Learning To Live With A Roommate

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Living with another is never easy. We often have to live with others out of necessity or to take the next step in a relationship with a new love. Living with others can help you in many facets of your life from school to work to parenting. Here are some essential tips to make living with one or more roommates or a partner go from a nightmare to a pleasant day dream.


When living with others, it is crucial that you listen to their needs. Does your roommate have a big test the next day and asked for some quiet time to study? Don't plan a party for the night before the test. That would be rude and insensitive. It also shows you didn't not listen or care about the roommates needs. Practice good listening skills and remember what you heard. All differences can be resolved by talking them out and truly hearing what others say.

Reduce Clutter

Keep your clutter to yourself. Don't spread your dirty clothes wherever they may fall. Pick up your messes and keep it contained in an areas that's all yours, such as your room or storage bin. Sharing a bathroom, hang your hand-washable clothes up in your room or on an outside line. Other household members clutter is a pet peeve often mentioned by roommates.

Keep Clean

If you made dinner, clean it up. If you made dinner for your partner or roommates, have a plan in place beforehand about who is doing the cleaning and putting away the clean dishes. Have a schedule in place for bathroom cleanup, so the bathroom is always sanitary if friends come over unexpectedly. No one enjoys cleaning up, so plan ahead for after-dinner kitchen messes and other household chores.

Togetherness Tips

Whether you are a couple who has been together for awhile or roommates living together to save money while going to college, discuss the discuss the pros and cons of the new living arrangements with your significant other or roommates. Talk about what will be shared and what will not. Living together is about sharing bills, chores and balancing kitchen and bathroom time to ensure a smooth-functioning roommate or couple situation. While stressful and problematic at first, there are ways to ease the tensions of living with others:

  • be respectful of everyone
  • post schedules of all roommates and emergency contact information
  • combine food for one large meal easily reheated for those with late schedules, keeping in mind differing dietary needs
  • honor the work and school schedules of others
  • set night quiet times
  • reciprocate good deeds done by others (such as helping with a large project)
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