Remember when you were little your mom would tell you to treat others the way you wanted to be treated? Granted, that meant not pulling other kids’ hair or throwing dirt at them but this is one philosophy you have to live by while you’re away at college living with a roommate. Boundaries and rules are key to having a good relationship with your roommate. Establish ground rules quickly and don’t be shy about voicing your opinion—just be sure not to come off as rude!
1. Be clean. Always keep your side of the room clean. If you have a sink, always wash your dishes. You may think it’s okay to be messy if your roommate doesn’t always clean up after themselves, but that is just not the case. Even if he isn’t a neat freak, he still won’t like it if you let some of your stuff cross over into his side of the room. Encourage each other to keep the space clean by cleaning your own sides when they get untidy.
2. Do not eat his food. We all know it can be pretty tempting to eat something incredibly mouth-watering when it’s just sitting there, and free! But, how would you feel if you were looking forward to eating your favorite food the whole day, only to come back home to see your roommate devoured it in five minutes without bothering to ask you if it was okay if he had a taste. Eating your roommate’s food without their permission is not cool.
3. Do not bring home drunk friends. Everybody knows college is the time to party, get drunk and have fun. But if you think bringing home the party to your sleeping/studying roommate is okay, think again. You might just be having the time of your life but there’s a reason your roommate didn’t want to go out with you, so don’t try to bring the party to him.
4. Ask before bringing a girl back to the room. College is one of those times in your life that you’re going to get to hook up with a lot of girls. With all those parties and drinks going around, you wanting to bring a girl back to your room is inevitable. Just make sure you call your friend at least an hour before you want to bring the girl back. Ask him if its okay if you could get the room to yourself for a while and apologize for putting him out. Do not tell him to sleep elsewhere—ask politely!
5. Keep it down. Do not blast loud music in your room when your roommate is around unless he wants to hear it too. Heck, don’t even turn any television or movie on without using your headphones. Also, if you’re far away from home, you’re going to want to Skype and call your friends and family back home once in a while. Make sure your roommate knows when you’re going to do this so you don’t disturb him and so you can get some privacy.
6. Don’t touch his stuff. It may be tempting to play with your roommate’s new Xbox 360, but remember, it is his—not yours! Even if you don’t mess it up or break it and he never finds out, it’s still a pretty low thing to do. You wouldn’t want somebody messing with your cool new stereo equipment now would you? This goes for clothes, shoes and especially electronics.
7. Pay the bills on time. Don’t make him wait until the very last second to pay the electric bill or the gas bill, provided these are applicable. Dorms won’t have these types of problems, but off-campus guys might. You will stress your roommate out so much he will resent you for making him wait and worry if the lights are going to get cut off or not. Be nice and give him your share of the money in advance.