How to Be a Good Roommate 

April 19, 2022

There are many benefits of having roommates, such as saving money, making new friends, and having someone to talk to. However, it’s important to understand this type of living arrangement, so you can make the best of it. At PadSplit, sharing a home with roommates is part of the experience. We know everyone is unique, and it can take time to adjust to living in a new city and build relationships with your new roommates. While having roommates and being a roommate is great, be sure you know how to be a good roommate.

Being a good roommate is easy when you:

  • Find Roommates in Your Area.
  • Create Basic Roommate Rules.
  • Respect Personal Space.
  • Be Respectful When Inviting Guests Over.
  • Keep the Space Tidy and Clean.
  • Have Set Fridge and Shelf Space.
  • Set Quiet-Time Hours.
  • Communicate, and Be Considerate.
  • Resolve Problems Quickly and Respectfully.

Following these simple steps can help you find roommates in Atlanta, learn how to be a good roommate, and create a collaborative, friendly home for everyone.

Find Roommates in Your Area

The first step to having roommates is knowing how to find roommates in Atlanta. You want to be sure you are finding the right roommates to share your space with. Here are some questions to think about as you start your roommate search. Do you:

  • Work odd hours, such as night shifts or weekends?
  • Work from home and require quiet time during business hours?
  • Work in healthcare, at a hospital, or in a job that exposes you to more germs?
  • Consider yourself tidy, messy, or somewhere in between?
  • Trust roommates to pay their portion of the bills on time?
  • Play musical instruments, video games, or loud music?
  • Enjoy cooking, or prefer takeout?
  • Have pets?
  • Smoke?
  • Have allergies to animals, foods, or plants?

Write down your answers to these questions. Be honest. When you start interviewing possible roommates in Atlanta, GA, consider asking them these questions as well. You and your potential roommates want to be happy with the living arrangements. It might feel weird to ask a stranger these kinds of questions, but it will pay off in the long run.

Create Basic Roommate Rules

Good roommates are effective communicators.
Good roommates are effective communicators.

This might seem like a silly step to include, but it’s important. You and your roommates are distinct people with different backgrounds. What’s normal to you might be unusual or rude to someone else. Creating basic roommate rules together will help you and your roommates openly discuss important items, compromise when needed, and be a document to help hold everyone accountable.

The best place to start is to list the most important things each of you expects. According to The Spruce, you will want to include:

  • How to divide bills fairly
  • When bills are due and who pays for what
  • Policies about guests
  • Cleaning schedules
  • General tidiness
  • Fridge and shelf spaces
  • Quiet hours
  • How to decorate as a team

You and your roommates will figure out what basic rules are needed as a team. As you discuss your needs with your roommates, be open, honest, and respectful. Listen to what your roommates need to feel safe, secure, and at home. This conversation might feel odd at times, but it gives you and your roommates the best chance of understanding each other from the start.

Respect Personal Space

You have personal space that you want others to respect. That also means your roommates will have personal space they expect you to respect. While it’s easy to be respectful of bedrooms, there are certain shared personal spaces to consider. These shared spaces include:

  • Kitchen cabinets dedicated to each roommate
  • Fridge and freezer spaces
  • Bathroom shelves and cabinets
  • Doormats where shoes might be kept
  • Crafting, painting, or desk areas
  • Bookcases in the common area
  • Patio or garden spaces

You will be sharing these personal spaces with your roommates. Just as you expect your roommates to respect your food, cabinets, towels, shoes, and other items, you need to do the same for your roommates. Like you, they are paying for these items with their hard-earned money. Always ask your roommates before you use or borrow any of their items.

Be Respectful When Inviting Guests Over

It is good to invite friends over to your place, but be respectful when doing so. Inviting people over late at night or very early in the morning can create tension and issues for roommates. If you want to have a dinner party, talk to your roommates first. Discuss what days and times would work best for them, and be sure you invite them too. And unless you’re co-hosting, don’t expect your roommate to share in the food, entertainment, or expenses for your party.

Inviting guests over at the last second, especially for an overnight stay, can put a burden on your roommates. These are people they don’t know, and it’s important that everyone in the home feels safe at all times. If you aren’t sure if it’s ok to invite a guest over without prior notice, simply call your roommate and talk about it.

Keep the Space Tidy and Clean

Everyone has a different level of cleanliness they feel is acceptable. Talk to your roommates to understand what kind of messes bother them. Then, do your best to avoid them and keep common areas clean. Let’s say one of your roommates doesn’t like when dishes are left in the sink. The other can’t stand it when towels are left on the bathroom floor. Wash your dishes and hang up your towel, roommate!

Establish Personal Fridge and Shelf Space

Having a dedicated, personal fridge and shelf space in shared areas helps everyone feel welcomed, included, and at home. Set aside equal amounts of space for all roommates. This includes shelf, drawer, and cabinet space in areas, such as:

  • Kitchen –cabinets, shelves, drawers, fridge, and freezer
  • Living room and common area – bookcases, shelves, closets, and entertainment units
  • Bathroom – cabinets, shelves, drawers, and closets
  • Front door – shoe holders or doormats

You might also want to share wall space for art, clocks, posters, or other decorative items. Make it a fun roommate bonding day to decorate your common areas together.

Set Quiet Time Hours

It’s fun to have lots of friends over or to play loud music, but there are certain times when quiet is needed. Be aware and respectful of one another by setting and maintaining quiet time hours. These hours need to be discussed upfront when you first meet your roommates. Everyone may have different quietness needs, so be considerate. Write down what days of the week and times of day are the agreed on quiet time hours and attach it to the fridge or another common area surface.

Communicate and Be Considerate

Find roommates in your area with common interests.
Find roommates in your area with common interests.

Good roommates are effective communicators. Take time to think before you speak. Your roommates need to share their thoughts or point-of-view without judgment. Communicate your thoughts and feelings calmly, too. You want to strive to be a good communicator, listener, and considerate.

Sharing a living space with others means that your actions impact your roommates. Be mindful of your roommates’ time, space, needs, and how your actions might affect them. For example, let’s say your roommate works the night shift and takes a nap during the afternoon. You get home from work and need to do laundry, but your roommate is sleeping on the couch. As a considerate roommate, you don’t want to disturb them, so you wait to do laundry until later.

Resolve Problems Quickly and Respectfully

‍Sometimes problems arise, and it’s best to resolve conflicts as quickly and respectfully as possible. Some problems will be small and easy to fix, but other issues might be hard to resolve. In that case, consider having a moderator to assist in conflict resolution. Resolve roommate conflicts by:

  • Listening
  • Discussing
  • Compromising
  • Being respectful
  • Asking questions

When you’re respectful, it means you care about the feelings and needs of your roommates. ‍Cooperative roommates are willing to compromise, listen to each other, and respect their roommates’ similarities and differences.

Finding Affordable Housing and Great Roommates in Atlanta

PadSplit helps you find affordable housing and great roommates—we like to call them PadMates. Following these simple steps helps you and your roommates communicate, share spaces, and live happy lives. When you use PadSplit, you get access to our special PadMate Member Messenger app to communicate with your PadMates. Our goal is to help you find the perfect place to stay, at reasonable rates, with the right PadMates. Ready to get started? Contact us today.

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