The Perfect Roommate-ship

Roommates – love ‘em or hate ‘em, we all probably have to deal with them. We’ve all heard horror stories about roommates who are exceedingly messy, who don’t respect your boundaries, ones that keep you up all night or, alternatively, wake you up every morning, or those who you simply can’t get along with. That being said, great roommates are 100% worthwhile and can be such an uplifting experience. Great roomies get to spend time together, cook together, celebrate together etc. while respecting one another as well. I’ve been through it all and one thing I can say for sure is that the roommate(s) you have can often make or break your university experience and that taking a few extra precautions can do more good than harm in the long run.

First off, honest is the best policy. I know it can be hard to admit to our worst (or weird) habits but if you don’t go into a house having mutually disclosed your expectations and living habits, things can end badly for everyone sharing the space. For example, if you are someone that is on the messier side, don’t be afraid to let your roommates know that you may not always be on top of things; vice versa, if you’re someone that needs the shared spaces to be clean 24/7, make sure you voice that early on. Most of the time, these small things can be overlooked in the excitement of moving in and come up only later, often resulting in disagreements and fights. That being said, there is no way for you to know what you or another person is going to be exactly like until you spend a couple weeks together, so don’t be inflexible if small habits appear later on – be open-minded and if something is really bothering you, bring it up in a respectful way instead of holding it in, only to have it become intolerable much later on.

Secondly, living with your best friends isn’t always what it’s made out to be. I know, I know, who doesn’t dream of living with and spending tons of time with their best friends? And a lot of the time it can be an amazing experience! But just understand that just because someone is your ideal friend doesn’t mean they’re going to be your ideal roommate – friends can often be super different from us in terms of personal habits, schedules, financial capacity etc. and that’s okay! Just make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into – you can still be friends even if you aren’t necessarily living together! It’s better to live apart and retain a friend rather than live together and grow apart.

Thirdly, you should set some rules but be willing to compromise. If you’re someone who loves to have a set schedule when it comes to cooking, cleaning or buying certain necessities for your apartment, or alternatively, if you’re more a go-with-the-flow type person, be sure to voice that early on. Again, going back to my first point, honestly is super important in any type of relationship, roommates included, and that should always be a priority; however, at the same time you shouldn’t be unaccommodating in every respect. Part of every relationship is the willingness to be versatile and open to changes!

Finally, being a roommate is a two-way street; as easy as it often can be to criticize or complain of others, we should always keep in mind that if we expect certain treatment from our roommates, we should be prepared to live up to the standards we want ourselves. Keep in mind that your busy schedule may not allow you to be as clean or outgoing or culinary as you’d like, and that you should allow the same leniency for your roommates. Be honest, be flexible and be respectful and I can almost guarantee you will have a great experience with your roommates! And, worst case scenario, if you find that you and roommates are just not made for one another, don’t stress it – you’re young and nothing is set in stone, so ride out your lease and find a new place come time. In the end, it’s all about the experience and what you take away from it!

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