Everyone has heard horror stories about bad roommates who have made their friends' lives difficult.
Once people move into an apartment together, some simple niceties of polite society can go out the window. Roommates sometimes invade one another's privacy, steal each other's food, and engage in other problematic behaviors.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. Prepare to treat your roommates with kindness and compassion, and follow these tips to make living with your roommates easier.
1. Practice Active Listening
When you communicate well with your roommates, you can set the scene for happy apartment living. Active listening is one of the most important parts of being an effective communicator. Before you can focus on making your point heard within a conversation, you must really listen to what the others have to say. When your roommates talk to you about an issue, pay attention. Indicate that you are listening by responding to your roommates' compliments or complaints.
Next, provide feedback on what was said by paraphrasing what your roommates said into a question. For example, if your roommates told you that they are upset that you parked a bicycle in the living room, start by reiterating the issue and restate the reasons that this issue bothered them.
Conclude by asking if you have a clear understanding of what they meant. They can then clarify any points you misunderstood. From there, let your roommates finish what they want to say, then respond in a thoughtful way. If you don't feel ready to respond in a reasonable way, simply explain that you will think about their points and that you will get back to them about the issue in a timely manner.
2. Offer Solutions
If a roommate upsets you, let them know-but handle the situation with grace. When pointing out things that bother you, offer solutions that you would appreciate. For example, if your roommates make a mess in the apartment, you may suggest taking turns with cleaning or creating separate spaces so messes are out of sight and out of mind. Try to come up with more than one suggestion and welcome your roommates' ideas as well. This approach can foster a healthy conversation about acting with consideration for one another.
Likewise, if any of your roommates have concerns or complaints about the living situation, ask them what you can do to make things easier or better.
Ultimately, offering solutions to each problem can make living together easier because everyone is open about their expectations.
3. Invite Your Roommates to Hang Out
Sometimes, people can live together for a long time without ever really getting to know each other. They may learn about the intimate, annoying personal habits that another person has yet not get to know who they truly are. Be the first one to invite your roommates to spend time together outside the apartment you share.
Consider what your roommates enjoy doing, then invite them on an outing that revolves around a shared interest. Roommates who become friends can enjoy living together and foster a friendship that lasts far beyond the living situation.
Finally, keep in mind that most roommates have some conflict when people are living in such close contact one another, so don't feel too bad if problems arise. Preparing yourself to be a good roommate will help you create an overall positive relationship with your roommates. You may be surprised at how far good communication and genuine consideration go in creating a harmonious living environment.
Use these tips to make living with roommates easier!