How to Be a Great Roommate

Sharing an apartment always comes with some challenges — no matter if you’re living with people you know or complete strangers. The best thing you can do to make your living situation as comfortable as possible is learn how to be a great roommate.

1. Come to an Agreement About Ground Rules

Soon after you move in, set some rules that all your roommates are happy with. For instance, you could discuss standards for cleanliness, use of common spaces, and sharing food like condiments. It’s also worth creating a cleaning schedule to ensure everyone knows who is responsible for what chore.

2. Clean Up After Yourself

Be respectful of your roommates by cleaning up your own mess, such as washing your dishes, keeping shared bathrooms tidy, and mopping up any spills. It’s not fair to make extra work for the person who needs to clean because you’re careless or untidy.

3. Communicate About Guests

Let your roommates know if you want to have guests over, especially if you’ll be using the living room or kitchen. Even a large apartment can become cramped if you all decide to invite people over on the same day without telling each other. Furthermore, if you know that one of your roommates likes to go to bed early or needs quiet to study in the evening, put in the effort to keep the noise down.

4. Get to Know Each Other

If you’ve never met your roommates before, it’s great if you can become friends — or at least acquaintances. While there’s always the possibility that your roommate becomes your best friend for life, this is actually quite rare. Don’t have too high expectations, but do at least try to get to know a few things about your roommates and hang out occasionally. You most likely have at least a few things in common — and it will be more comfortable living in your apartment if you have someone to talk to when you come home.

5. Bring Up Small Issues Before They Become Big Problems

Never expect small issues to simply resolve themselves if you don’t communicate the problem with your roommates. Avoid being passive aggressive or expecting your roommate to take a hint. Instead, talk about a problem before it gets out of hand and you can no longer stand living with each other.

Of course, it’s important to consider if your roommate’s behaviour is actually a problem or if you’re being unreasonably picky. If the issue is something minor, a better solution may be to decide not to let it bother you. Remember that you all come from different backgrounds and what may be annoying to you could be normal to someone else.

6. Share Emergency Contact Information

Make sure you have phone numbers for your roommates’ close family members in case of an emergency. The last thing you want is to have no idea who to call.

It’s much easier to be a great roommate when you at least have your own bedroom. This means moving off campus and searching for student apartments. Ottawa students can live at 1Eleven. Unlike with many off-campus apartments, you’ll have your own lease and there’s no need to find other people to share with — we’ll match you with roommates who have a similar study style to you. Book a video tour to check out the facilities.

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