If you are in your early 20’s, perhaps in school or simply working to get by, you definitely have roommates.
Being able to afford your own place is a pipe dream, especially in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Aside from not being able to live on your own financially, opting for the roommate experience is a beneficial one. You learn how to communicate, share, be patient and make memories.
While some people have nightmare experiences with that one roommate who traumatized you, most roommate scenarios end in a “friends for life” fashion that cannot be replaced by the loneliness of Netflix in your studio apartment by yourself.
But maybe, just maybe, you will have an amazing year or two that all starts during the apartment hunt, becomes solidified with the signing of the lease and extends into the living space.
I am grateful and happy to report that I have genuinely lucked out in the roommate department. While I have had ups and downs in certain scenarios of roommates coming home half naked, drunk and disorderly or the dish disaster of 2015, overall I have met and befriended some amazing people and have learned a lot about myself in the process.
Luck is not the only thing on my side, understanding and adaptability help. Among other things there are certain elements to be aware of and practices to abide by.
The keys to having a great roommate living experience are as follows:
- First off finding people you trust, that you are comfortable with.
No you don’t necessarily have to be friends you just have to be able to live together with mutual respect, but having trust and comfort is key, this is after all your home.
The trust is also important from a financial standpoint, you have to trust that they will be paying their part and on time
- Second is communication
While this seems obvious, communicating openly with your roommates is crucial. There are a lot of sensitive issues to go over: visitors, finances, chores and behavior.
Being able to openly communicate to your roommates your discomfort with something they did or perhaps request a change in the apartment dynamic is a luxury and privilege that you must seek. Communication is a two way street and must be introduced one way or another.
Passive aggressive post-it note behavior is prohibited.
- Third is understanding, your lives don’t all line up perfectly
Respect that your roommates have responsibilities, lives and friends outside of APT. 5f is crucial.
You live together, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend every possible minute together, hanging out, getting food, taking a walk, checking the mail, facetiming your boyfriend, going to the restroom…..
Space is ok. In fact it is a good thing. Take tie for yourself and give them theirs.
- Fourth, learn to share
Whether it is sharing cloths, food, supplies wine. Know what you are and are not willing to share but have an understanding and learn to be giving and flexible.
You are all in this together and you live together so there is no escaping that sometimes paths and belongings will cross.
It is much easier to be a giver and a sharer than to be possessive and rude.
- Fifth, learn to clean up your own space and your own mess. Period.
- Lastly, if anything, make memories
How many times are you going to be in your early 20’s in an amazing city?
How many opportunities are you going to have to live with people your age who are looking for the same adventure that you are?
What are the odds that perhaps you will make life long friends during this journey of learning to live in the same proximity?
Ill tell ya, extremely high.
I speak from experience. While I had met her and knew her previously, it wasn’t until I lived with her that my best friend became my best friends. One summer was all it took and I am all the better for it.
In my current situation, everyday is an adventure and an opportunity to laugh, joke and share life stories with these two ladies. I couldn’t have asked for better memories than that trip to Ikea and the trips up the fourth floor walk up with 100-pound boxes of unassembled furniture, or getting addicted to multiple shows on Netflix where we can binge together on our days off, or being a part of major life events like getting the part in their first show in the city or the journey of a new relationship.
Making those memories together and being a part of that journey is worth the awkward conversation about doing the dishes or reminding each other that rent is due soon.
Having that inside joke and late night talk is worth sharing your personal space and foregoing luxuries like complete bathroom privacy.
Learn your comfort levels and learn how to communicate them effectively.
Be kind and
Be open to the experience
It is not every day you have people to come home to that truly care.