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Roommate Etiquette in a Multi-Occupant Home

Roommate Etiquette in a Multi-Occupant Home

Living with roommates is becoming more common as a practical response to urbanisation and the soaring cost of housing. Sharing a flat or house not only helps to manage expenses but can also offer companionship in an often impersonal world. Connecting to others, especially as we get older, can get more difficult and it can mean a great way to surround us with other human beings when off the clock. 

However, the key to a peaceful co-existence lies in respecting each other’s differences and maintaining good behaviour. For this to work, understanding and implementing basic roommate etiquette is fundamental.

Communication is key – always

Effective communication forms the backbone of any healthy living arrangement. Or, any arrangement, to be fair. It’s important to establish a dialogue right from the start. Discussing preferences and expectations about cleanliness, guest policies, and daily routines can prevent misunderstandings. If there are any issues arising, hold regular meetings to tackle them right away. Are there any changes needed or approaching in the living situation? Talk them out. Ensure everyone remains on the same page. 

Techniques such as active listening, where you give full attention to the speaker and acknowledge their points, using “I” statements to express feelings without casting blame, can foster a more harmonious environment, too. 

Share all responsibilities

Dividing household chores and financial obligations is fairly essential to avoid resentment. Be transparent about how rent, utility bills, and groceries for shared items are split, and keep a shared record to track these expenses. It’s also vital to discuss home insurance – make sure you are protected with a home insurance policy that covers personal belongings and liability for accidents within the home. Check if your individual needs are better served by separate policies or if a joint one would be more beneficial.

Creating a chore schedule can also help maintain order and ensure that no one person is burdened with too much responsibility. Especially, if one party is cleaner than others

Respect privacy and personal space

When sharing a home, personal space becomes a premium commodity, which is why setting and establishing clear boundaries from the outset is important. This includes respecting each other’s rooms but also personal belongings in shared spaces. Always seek permission before borrowing anything from your roommates. In situations where privacy is inadvertently breached, address the issue calmly and politely to reinforce mutual respect. 

Remember, the foundation of any shared living arrangement is trust and consideration for one another’s need for private space.

Know how to deal with conflicts

No matter how well you get along, disagreements are more often than not inevitable. The crux is in how you deal with them. When they arise, address them directly with the individuals involved. The longer you let them cook, the bigger they get. That’s how mole hills turn into mountains. 

Establish ground rules early in your tenancy about how to handle disputes and consider writing them down as part of a roommate agreement. If a resolution isn’t easily achieved, don’t hesitate to seek external advice or mediation. Handling conflicts maturely and constructively can prevent the relationship to sour or even escalate.

At the end of the day, living with roommates can, but not necessarily shouldn’t be just about sharing costs. It’s an opportunity to build valuable interpersonal skills and even form lasting friendships.

Images: Unsplash