How to be a good roommate
When extortionate rent prices only seem to be increasing every year, having a roommate or several in New York City is inevitable if you make less than six figures, or aren’t willing to live in a shoebox. I shared a flat in London with my two best friends in college, but it was a much different situation than coming to NYC and living with complete strangers. While dwelling with people you don’t know may sound a bit daunting, having roommates in the city can be a great experience, as long as you respect each other’s boundaries and follow some basic guidelines.
Looking for a roomie as you read this? Then listen up. Below, tips on how to be a good roommate, because you’ll probably need one in New York City.
Agree on the ground rules.
This point sounds like a no-brainer, but some people are more “uptight” than others when it comes to certain living arrangements – so get everything out in the open. Will there be a rotating cleaning schedule? Who will mail in the rent checks at the end of the month? Is it necessary to alert everyone if you have a visitor coming, or will the rules about overnight guests be more lax? These are all questions that should be addressed before signing a lease with anyone. If someone is incredibly set in their ways and you feel like their demands are too strict, then it’s best to look for another roommate.
Be upfront about your relationship.
Just because people live together, doesn’t mean they have to be bosom buddies. Sometimes you can go weeks without seeing your roommates. Be clear from the get-go about what you want or what’s most important: a roommate who is friendly, clean, and pays the bills on time. Roommates don’t need to be BFFs, but sometimes they turn out to be the best friend you’ve ever had. Figure out what you’re looking for and be honest with your potential roomie. Some people enjoy adding new friends to their network, whereas others (like myself) have a smaller, tight-knit circle.
Be proactive with household duties.
I can’t stand the whole “That’s not my glass in the sink, so I’m not going to wash it, even though I’m washing my own dishes” mentality. If you see something that can use a quick tidy, like fluffing the sofa cushions or giving the kitchen counter a wipe down, just do it. It’s pointless to split hairs over the small stuff.
Don’t trash the common areas.
I’m the first to admit that my bedroom often looks like all the hurricanes in the world decided to run through it at the same time. (In my defense, studies show that people who are exceptionally creative will live in more cluttered spaces.) But when it comes to common areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and living room, I go out of my way to pick up after myself. I can trash my room all I want, but out of respect for my roommate, I would never leave my stuff around the rest of the apartment.
Respect their space.
I’d never go into a roommate’s bedroom unless I ask, and I don’t like the idea of anyone going in my room without my knowledge. The thought of it makes me feel claustrophobic because I think of my bedroom as MY space. So I need to give my roommate the same courtesy that I expect. Not everyone will have similar living habits, and some roommates will be completely fine with anyone venturing into their room for whatever reason. But unless your roomie gives you the go-ahead, always respect his or her privacy. And hopefully, you’ll find a fabulous person (or persons) to share an apartment.
Laverne and Shirley photo via Wiki.
Do you have any tips on how to be a good roommate? Please feel free to share with us in the comments.