How to Avoid a Bad Roommate Situation


Over the course of the past five years, I’ve had a variety of roommates. Some were nice, some were rude, and some were just plain weird.

Currently, I am happy with my roommate situation, and somewhat sad that my lease is ending in a week. However, that’s not to say I haven’t endured my fair share of bad situations.

After graduating college, several people opt to live alone, as opposed to reliving previous college roommate-related nightmares. However, rent and living costs vary from city to city, therefore, the monthly rent for a place in a less populous city may exceed that of a large metropolis. In order to cut costs, one may opt to live with a roommate.

Coming home from work or school shouldn’t be something you dread. Below are five keys to creating a positive home environment and avoiding a bad roommate situation.

Set ground rules from the beginning. — Before moving in with someone, establish a few rules regarding how you would like things to operate in house. If you don’t want to be co-hosting any parties, clear that up with your roommate. If you don’t want to share your snacks or dishes, make that known. Personally, how anyone I live with keeps their end is their business, as long as they keep shared areas clean. Also, I don’t mind sharing my belongings, as long as they ask.

Don’t be passive-aggressive. — Nobody likes the roommate who leaves cryptic, abrasive Post-It notes on the fridge. If you have a problem with one of your roommate’s habits, speak with them firmly, calmly, and face-to-face. Sticky notes written in Sharpie ink will result in you being mercilessly mocked among friends and family.

Don’t live with your best friend. When moving into a new place, signing an agreement to live with your lifelong companion may seem comforting and tempting, but it may not end well. By living together, spending time with your best friend may lose its significance, as you become accustomed to seeing each other all the time. You may also grow to feel resentment towards your friend and their annoying habits. If you’re going to college from high school, my suggestion is to room with that one friend that you’re not super close with but are somewhat acquainted with. As far as post-college roommates go, the most common suggestion I’ve heard is to room with a friend-of-a-friend. The idea of sharing an apartment with a best friend may sound fun, but it will ultimately make or break your friendship.

Keep a healthy amount of distance. — No matter how close you are with a person, seeing them every waking moment of the day can be draining. It’s healthy to be friends with your roommate, but don’t feel the need to invite them to tag along with you on every single grocery run or every happy hour. You also shouldn’t take it personally if your roommate doesn’t invite you to hang out with them one night. You already live with them, so certainly, you must get enough of them in one day.

Pay your bills on time. — In order to maintain a positive home environment, both parties must make contributions. The last thing you want is tension between your roommates that could’ve been avoided had you paid your share of the utilities.

The grown-up world can be tough, but living with the right roommate can make it somewhat less daunting. If both parties make a equal contributions and live up to their ends of the deal, having a roommate doesn’t have to be a nightmare.