Roommate Advice (aka: Act Like An Adult)

Things you should know if you plan to have success living with other adult human beings:

1.) Sometimes, you have to share.


This involves living space, couch space, TV time, apartment expenses, and all major appliances. If you don’t want someone to sit near you on the couch, then don’t camp out in the living room. If you want to listen to music, read, and be by yourself? Go to your room.

2.)Your needs do not always automatically come first.


You are not entitled to everything you want the second that you want it. When you have to go to the bathroom, do laundry, or cook dinner, it doesn’t always mean that you will be able to do those things in the very instant that you would like to. Someone might just be in the bathroom, laundry might already be in the washer, and the oven could already have a pizza in it. Tough luck. Your lack of planning ahead does not make it okay for you to attempt to take over that space when it is already in use.  So don’t take your roommate’s wet clothing out of the drier before it is done in order to dry your own laundry. This is commonly seen as a witch-with-a-B move.

3.) You have responsibilities.


So Man up. Clean something every once in a while, and not just the thing you want to use, but something that is dirty. Throw the shower rugs into the laundry for once. Take out the trash occasionally. Turn out the lights before you go to bed. (In other words, be an adult.)

4.) It always works out better if you try to be nice.


Being nice to your roommates house guests is a good place to start. You should never try to kick them out of the bathroom while they are using it, say, or treat them like a second-class human being because they do not pay rent. This is something called common decency. If you are not familiar with it, you should be aware that it is pretty crucial for human interactions. This one doesn’t just go for guests or visitors, though, try to understand that your roommates are human beings, too, ones who might have a bad day just like any other human being (like, say, you for example). When this happens, and they are tired, frustrated, and at the end of their rope, try NOT to push them, fight them, or insult them until they have to leave the room and cry themselves to sleep.

5.) Noise: make less than usual at night.


Night time, as a generally recognized period of time designated for sleep, should be observed by all. If you do not observe this typical schedule, you should be aware that your evening habits might impact the people you live with. Keep the noise down when your roommates are trying to sleep or study. A “silence rules” rule might be in order if you struggle with this concept, but honestly, it’s not that hard. If you absolutely must listen to your indie-hipster Pandora station at full volume from 6:30-9:30pm, ear-bud headphones are an excellent invention which might behoove you to use.

6.) You do not have any automatic claim on your roommate’s time.


When you come into the house and need to vent to someone, try to assess the situation prior to opening your mouth to dump on whoever might be around. Even the most understanding of roommates might not be able to take a tirade about work politics or the juvenile, catty interplay that you foster in your workplace. You are not allowed to get hurt feelings when your roommate does things with other friends, because that is life, and your roommate will have other friends, just like you do.

7.) If you are passive aggressive, you will fail at life.


8.) Logic wins.


This particularly concerns parking and decisions such as who should shower first. If someone else has to leave first in the morning, then they should park behind you. Case closed. This also might be relevant when discussing seemingly inane or arbitrary questions as they arise. (Such as, but not limited to, why we aren’t keeping a racing bike in the middle of the kitchen when we live in a three-level house with a lot of storage areas.)

9.) You are not a dog; there is no need to pee yourself a territory line.


When you move into a pre-furnished apartment, try NOT to perceive every attempt to use the space as an exertion of authority over you. Maybe your roommate just wants to remind you that she cares for her possessions and would rather not have them ruined. So when you use her favorite pancake flipper to kill about 15 flies, try to understand that your actions did not fall into the framework of expected uses for a pancake flipper. Or when she asks to sit on the same couch as you because it is nearer to the lamp and she needs to grade papers, try not to take it as an exertion of power over you, since it is clearly a logical choice (see #8).

10.) Work/School-nights are different from weekends.


If you are planning a wild night, plan it for a weekend night or a night out of the shared apartment. You may not mind being up late and making a huge mess in the house, but your roommates are sure to notice the late-night noise and the loud company. Remember that one time that you got pissed because your roommate’s brother was over with a friend? Well, you need to understand that, when the noise situation is reversed, you piss people off, too. Similarly, if it is the weekend, you need to understand that complete silence probably won’t be achieved at 9pm throughout the living-spaces of your apartment. You might just have to deal with a little bit of noise on the weekends.

11.) If you are an extraordinarily light sleeper, take necessary precautions.


For example, get a noise machine to eliminate extra noise, and if that fails, take a sleep aid. Hell, chug NyQuil. A whisper in the kitchen should not keep you up at night if you are on the second floor. That is unreasonable. The moderate volume on the television (see #5) should not bother you on the opposite end of the house . . . one floor up.

12.) Don’t get a dog unless you are independently wealthy or work less than 6 hours a day.


Dogs wreck things, puppies more so than others. If you want to maintain a good relationship with your roommates, do not get a drooling, slobbering, chewing, peeing, defecating puppy which you cannot consistently train, keep in a crate when gone, and monitor. If you plan to stay at home with a puppy, or take them to daycare daily, then that is another story.

13.) Don’t be a bitch to your roommate’s brother/friends/cat/family.


This kind of behavior is generally not going to endear you to your roommates. Perhaps you do not see the value of family connections, friends, or pets, but most human beings tend to value these three groups pretty highly, and do not take very kindly to their mistreatment. So quit “gently moving the cat with your foot” (aka kicking the cat) when you think nobody will find out, and try to be nice to visitors, because they don’t have to like you just because you pay rent.

14.) DO NOT bring up ancient history or irrelevant facts in arguments or discussions that arise.


Just because you were gone all weekend and didn’t sit in the living room (which, fyi, could be true of your roommates as well – so don’t assume shit that you can’t know) does NOT mean you get sole rights to the entire downstairs on Monday night. It was your choice to be out all weekend, a choice your roommates did not make for you. Also, the fact that your roommate’s older brother stayed in the house for a week two months ago has NO bearing on your obsessive need to blare music at an unbelievable decibel level tonight. History is history, and if something is a problem, you should bring it up in the moment and not two months later.

15.) Everybody has quirks and will need patience sometimes.


Newsflash, just like you are not always easy to live with (please try to accept this, as it is always the truth), your roommates will never be 100% perfect either. As flawed human beings, people just require patience and love and sometimes, a healthy combination of the two.

Published by Abby

Dabbling in decoratives is an ongoing obsession. I love having a go at This, That and the Other. . . tackling projects that tickle my fancy, hoarding costumes (for the "Someday" that I own a dress-up tea-house for grown-ups) and hosting themed parties whenever I am not immersed in teaching French and Writing to high school students. In the interest of full transparency, there's something serious you should know: I overuse the ellipsis . . . frequently. Embarassingly enough, it seems to be the punctuation that best captures my stream of thought as it flits off of one subject and towards the next!

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