Having a roommate is great for many reasons. Roommates can help you save money on rent and utilities (score!). It’s also quite nice to have someone to come home to, instead of an empty house. However, there’s a very fine line between “best roommate ever” and “worst experience of your life.” Here are a couple of tips for maintaining a positive roommate relationship:

Establish Ground Rules. Figure out who will be responsible for paying bills, cleaning common areas, and sharing belongings. If you establish expectations at the beginning, there will be less room for miscommunication and conflict later on.

Clean Up After Yourself. An easy way to avoid conflict before it happens is to be diligent about cleaning up after yourself. Wash your dishes in a timely manner, clean up your messes, and keep common spaces tidy.

Communication. Perhaps the number one most important thing – open communication! If your roommate is always doing something that annoys you (i.e. leaving dirty dishes in the sink for long periods of time), talk to them about your feelings early on in order to avoid it becoming a problem later. Be aware that this is a two-way street. You might be doing something that annoys them as well, so don’t get upset if they come to you to talk about it.

Respect Their Space. Whether it’s your own room, or your own bed, everyone likes to have a space to call their own. Respect your roommate’s space. Do not invade their area without their permission. This same rule goes for food—nothing turns a roommate relationship sour faster than one person eating all of someone else’s food.

Be Courteous. Some nights you’re going to want to have friends over, play music, or stay up late watching a movie. These are reasonable expectations and you have every right to do these things! Just make sure you’re alerting your roommate to your plans ahead of time so that they don’t unexpectedly come home to a house full of people.

As long as you both are generally open about your expectations, courteous to your each other’s feelings, and willing to communicate when something is bothering you, you’re sure to fully enjoy the benefits of having a roommate.  

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