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Tips for Living with Roommates

December 12, 2017

Sharing living space with others who have different habits can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. Below are five helpful tips for living with roommates.


Communication is key to many things in life and living with roommates is no exception. Your roommate is probably not even aware of most of the things that may be annoying you – and they are probably willing to change their behavior if you just ask. You’re both adults so approaching the matter with respect and courtesy can prevent frustration and stress. Don’t leave notes – this passive-aggressive approach isn’t typically received well.

It is also worth noting how important it is to pick your battles. Continuously pointing out how annoying your roommate is, no matter how courteous you are about it, can cause your roommate to feel some resentment. Ask yourself if the issue is worth bringing up or if it is something you can live with.

You may be doing things that annoy your roommate as well. So when your roommate approaches you about these things, keep an open-mind and be willing to compromise.


Living with other people might mean you don’t have much of your own space. Even so, learning how to be in the same room while having alone time can be extremely helpful. It often means sitting in the same room doing whatever you find enjoyable in silence – it may be awkward but you will both learn to appreciate it. And remember that living with someone doesn’t mean you must hang out together all the time. It is OK to have plans with people outside of your roommates!


Inform your roommate when having people over. It isn’t a matter of asking permission – it is just courteous to give them a heads up so they aren’t shocked when coming home from work or simply walking out of their room.

Discuss bathroom habits, study habits and other schedules that will affect the shared spaces you will both be using. Be respectful of the time you spend in these spaces and how you leave them once you’re done.


Boundaries are very important when it comes to living with roommates. Consider as many scenarios as possible – what you want to share (food, toiletries, etc.) as well as who will purchase them and how splitting bills will be handled. Laying down these ground rules from the beginning can help avoid many arguments. Other boundary topics to consider discussing include cleaning duties/schedule, bill payments and what your schedules are like (to avoid sleepless nights).

Also discuss things that you will NOT accept or don’t want in the apartment just so everyone is on the same page. These types of things are probably obvious and you perhaps silly to bring up but better safe than sorry. It is also important to make sure these things aren’t irrational or absurd.


It may be a difficult subject to discuss but don’t assume you are both on the same page about finances. Discuss whose name will appear on the bill, when that person will need the other roommates’ share of the bill so they can pay the bill on time, etc. And don’t assume because someone makes more money that they will pay a bigger portion of the bill – discuss these types of situations to avoid financial arguments.

It is probably a good idea to download an app like Venmo which can make it easier to transfer funds between roommates. The app is also useful for those roommates who always seem to “forget their wallet” or don’t carry cash on them.

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