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10 Things to Avoid If You Want to Be a Good Roommate

10 Things to Avoid If You Want to Be a Good Roommate

Americans are choosing live with roommates more than ever. The money saving benefits are one of the main reasons so many choose to live with roommates. A noticeable increase in community living situations has taken place in the last decade. About 32% of Americans currently live in a roommate living situation.

Upon entering adulthood I have already lived in eight different homes, all with roommates. I lived with close friends, new acquaintances, siblings, and other family members over the years. The following list of less than ideal “roommate quirks” are common among living scenarios with many people. Maybe you’re already guilty of some of these things? Regardless, it’s important to avoid these annoying lifestyle habits. These roommate dynamics can be a breaking point for many people.

1. Stop leaving your laundry unfinished.

I’ve lived in homes that don’t have a washer and dryer, so I have a huge appreciation for this commonly overlooked convenience. Spending unwanted hours in dingy, crowded laundromats is no fun at all. It seems like a common courtesy but it’s easy to put off your laundry when you’re in the middle of a busy day. Follow through with it and complete your laundry in a respectful time frame. Treasure the fact you have a working washer and dryer, and finish what you’ve started.

Laundry

    via Giphy

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    2. Poor communication usually leads to frustration.

    The barriers of ineffective communication are sometimes hard to break down. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and there has to be a clear cut way to easily get into contact. We live in a world where everyone has cell phones, so utilize that and actually respond to those you live with. Group texts are great because they keep everyone informed and centralize important conversations. In the tech-friendly world we live in, no one has to be left in the dark. But more than anything, make sure what you are communicating is purposeful; stop just talking and start actually communicating!

    3. Casually sampling their food is not okay.

    Quite possibly the most annoying part of living with someone is when they take advantage of your tasty leftovers or casually eat their way through your weekly grocery supply. Roommates are not parental figures (typically) and they don’t want to provide for your lazy ass. Buy your own food, cook your own meals, tie your own shoes, and tread lightly if you absolutely feel the need to be a leftover rogue. It’s only a matter of time before you get caught in the act.

    ponyo gif

      via Bookbyte Blog

      4. Forgetting to pay your bills on time is stressful for everyone.

      Bills are very commonly split among roommates, which in essence makes the process more convenient for everyone. However, the last thing you want is for your roomies to have to pry the money you owe them out of your hands. Keep in mind that if the electric bill is in your roommate’s name and you pay them your portion late, they’ll more than likely have to front the money for you. As in my past experiences, this puts you in a bad spot.

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      5. Messy public areas are irritating.

      I’ll admit it, my bedroom isn’t always the cleanest place and neither is my car sometimes. One thing’s for sure though: the public areas around my house are. Places like the kitchen, bathroom, and even porches and closets can spiral into unorganized chaos. Don’t leave food remnants on your kitchen counters or other areas of your home. Do you want to attract mice and rats and catch the hantavirus?! Didn’t think so. Communicate to your roommates that it’s ideal to have some form of system in place to avoid recurring messes.

      garbage house

        via Huffington Post

        6. Make battles over the thermostat a thing of the past.

        This is a timeless argument. One roommate prefers to live in a freezing cave and the other pinches every penny and refuses to turn the AC on when it’s the middle of July. Discuss the situation, and come to a compromise. It’s literally that simple.

        7. Don’t neglect cleaning the refrigerator.

        I once had an incident in a fridge at a house that I shared with four other people. It involved what I would consider a bag of primordial ooze that I believe was kale at one point in time. When food gets so moldy it’s radiating a toxic scent, it’s definitely time to throw that stuff away and clean out your disgusting refrigerator. It’s amazing how that unknown putrid smell is instantly gone once your fridge is clean and sanitized. You should never have to be afraid of what’s lingering inside the vegetable crisper.

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        catfridge

          via Giphy

          8. Clean the kitchen items everyone shares.

          The kitchen could be the most high-traffic area in your home, especially when you live with people who all cook and eat on different schedules. This can often times lead to bitter feelings tied to finding your prized frying pan covered in bacon grease from three days ago. I’ve seen knives dulled and dishes so dirty that it’s debatable whether they’ll actually ever be clean enough to eat off again. Have you experienced someone who makes pillars out of dirty plates, or collects cups in their room like they are hosting some type of filth museum? Not okay!

          9. For the love of dog, take care of your pets.

          This one should go without saying but it’s astounding that people often times forget about basic levels of care associated with owning a pet. Whether a cat, dog, or chinchilla, routine care like providing fresh food and water daily can get pushed to the back-burner. Just like small children, animals sometimes defecate inside homes. Remember to always clean that crap up—literally.

          On that note, litter boxes can be treacherous territory with the potential to stink up an entire house. If you live with a pregnant roomie, excessively dirty litter boxes can cause birth defects in newborns. You don’t want to live with that guilt. So clean up after kitty, they’d do it themselves if only they had opposable thumbs.

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          dogmixer

            via io9

            10. It’s simple: don’t be a mooch.

            It may seem like it’s easier to be the person who never buys toilet paper, or slyly uses someone else’s laundry detergent like some evil cleaning supply bandit. But ask yourself: do you really want to be the source of a constant headache? Contribute equally and don’t burn bridges. Oftentimes people take a slightly passive aggressive stance with these issues. This is unfortunate and can lead to the whole ordeal getting blown out of proportion. Easy solution: buy your own stuff and don’t be a mooch!

            Have you had a terrible roommate and learned by their mistakes? Post your advice in the comments section below.

            Featured photo credit: neighbor game night by ramsey beyer via flickr.com

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            Robert Parmer

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            Last Updated on February 21, 2019

            The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

            The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

            In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

            Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

            Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

            Conflicts are literally everywhere.

            Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

            Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

            Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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            Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

            Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

            Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

            The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

            Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

            Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

            How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

            Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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            Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

            Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

            How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

            Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

            Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

            Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

            How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

            Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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            Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

            Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

            How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

            Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

            Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

            Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

            How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

            Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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            Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

            Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

            How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

            Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

            Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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