How you live and co-exist with your housemates and roommates plays a significant role in the other aspects of your life as well. Having a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and privacy with your roommate is critical. This does not mean becoming BFFs or being each other’s confidantes, it just means being able to co-live peacefully and tension-free.
There are many things that can be done to be a better roommate such as clearly communicating, dividing responsibilities equally, respecting the other person’s privacy as well as being considerate. Remember your roommate will mostly be a completely new person who will take time to adjust to your habits and quirks. You must not treat them like a family member or friend that you have had a relationship with, for years.
There comes a time in life when we do end up co-living in a PG room in Bangalore, Mumbai, or any other city. Either the city is new or we prefer a PG in Bangalore with food till we get acquainted with the city, or the cost of living in Mumbai is so high that we choose a roommate. Being a good roommate will not only allow you to co-exist peacefully but will also give others an assurance that you can be relied upon.
Here are multiple ways to be a better roommate.
1) Choose your roommate carefully
Before moving in and being taken by surprise, it is best to look out for the most ideal roommate for yourself. When basic interests match, there are common work schedules, you both are aligned on the cleanliness standards and agree on certain restrictions and certain go-ahead within the home; it can make co-living more comfortable. For instance, if someone is too particular and extra choosy whereas, you have a more carefree and nonchalant attitude, clashes are bound to happen down the line. Such things should be gauged before agreeing to move in together.
2) Respect your roommate’s privacy
It is basic decency to refrain from eavesdropping on your roommate’s conversations or sharing their personal habits and conversations outside the house. You should not be nosey or bother yourself about their whereabouts, what time they come or leave or who they hang out with outside the house. If they bring someone to the house who makes you uncomfortable, then sure, bring it up with them. But otherwise, their personal life is none of your business so do not make it yours. Being intrusive can cause the other person to become uncomfortable in your presence.
3) Communicate explicitly
Regardless of whether your roommate happens to be a friend, a cousin, or a complete stranger, communication is key when you are co-living. Communication is imperative even before you move in together and should not end there. Openly discuss constraints, expectations, contributions and do not leave anything to one’s imagination or deemed as obvious. Clarify certain ambiguous situations such as – are you ok with overnight visitors, how will you split utility bills, do you require certain services, how will you divide your responsibilities, and more such situations. Even if things are cleared before moving in, things may deviate from what was originally planned. With time, people get comfortable, borrow things, etc. However, if something is bothering you or not going as decided– it is best to communicate and get it out of the way.
4) Be considerate
Though this appears to be an obvious requirement, the definition of ‘being considerate’ varies from person to person. Some may think playing music at low levels is being considerate, while others may feel not playing it at all is the right thing to be done. Everyone thinks they are being considerate but your behaviour may not be perceived the same way by your roommate. Basic things like not leaving dirty dishes around, not having people over if your roommate has an important meeting or exam the next day, asking your roommate if they are ok with the music levels or prefer headphones to be worn, etc. are common courtesies that can be extended. Though at times the answers are obvious, during confusing situations, just ask.
5) Divide chores and responsibilities equally
This again seems like the fairest thing to do but often our habits get the better of us. At home, we probably had help clearing out dishes or washing clothes and picking up our mess after us. But that is not how it works in a co-living space. Also, if all the work like getting groceries, coordinating with the help, taking out the garbage falls on one person, it gets frustrating. There are even apps these days that help roommates discuss chores, so no one slacks.
At the end of the day, just be a good human being and be there for your roommates. You do not have to become best friends but since you do spend most of those years together, you will have to find a way to peacefully co-exist. These days, with co-living spaces such as Your-Space, other aspects of co-living are anyway made easy through safe and hassle-free accommodation. Just do your bit – be thankful, apologise if you are wrong, and communicate when you are confused and you should be good to go. In fact, roommates often end up becoming your go-to person for the years that you live together and unless something is drastically wrong, with basic mannerisms and consideration, you are bound to have a good time together.