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How to Be a Good Roommate

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Three key words to remember while living with another
04/16/2015

How to Be a Good Roommate photo

The melodies notifying you that your laundry is dry and your dishes are clean ring like a relaxing chime. Although there are machines to empty, you feel in no rush because you’re on your own clock. That’s one beauty of living alone: You don’t have to worry about emptying a laundry machine, so your roommate can clean his or her week-old dirty garments. I’ve been living this way for two years.

Well, kind of.

Ever since attending college in the city, I convinced my parents to let me live in their city pad until my graduation. So, this time in my life is very bittersweet. I recently graduated from college, but I’ve been asked to vacate the premises by mid-May. I guess you could say I’m part of my parents’ spring cleaning.

In all honesty, I’m looking forward to moving out. I love seeing my parents when they come downtown on the weekends, but I can’t wait to have a place I can call my own.

Well, kind of.

I’m moving in with one of my dearest friends who I’ve known since birth – literally. I haven’t lived with someone for a while, so, naturally, I’m a bit nervous. Since I’ve been living alone, I haven’t had to worry about someone else’s needs. And I’ve heard the horror stories about best friends who become roommates and now they’re no longer speaking.

To avoid a friendship meltdown, I’ve compiled a list of words I want to live by during this very exciting adventure.

Respect

I read on one of my favorite career websites, The Muse, that you should immediately complete a task that would take you approximately 30 seconds. These tasks include washing dishes, taking out laundry from the washer and dryer and taking out the trash. By doing these small tasks, you’re – for one – doing your part as a respectful roommate, but you’re also acknowledging that your roommate has chores he or she needs to complete. There’s nothing worse than having a roommate who never takes out the trash or takes days to empty the laundry machine.  

Empathy

Right now I’m reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. According to the book – and, I’m paraphrasing – we believe that by bringing up every issue we have with someone, we’ll feel better. In fact, we’d feel better by doing the exact opposite. By focusing on the good in life, we feel good.

Your roommate might be doing something that’s frustrating you. He or she might be, for example, leaving his or her work projects everywhere on the kitchen table. You think he or she is being passive aggressive by leaving the area so dirty, but they might not know it’s even an issue. By politely asking your roommate, let’s say, if they don’t mind reorganizing their work before going to bed so you can eat your breakfast at the kitchen table, you avoid an argument over a misunderstanding.

Fun

This is the most important word to live by. You chose to live with this person because, hopefully, you have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company. Make sure to enjoy the time you have with your roommate because before you know it your lease will end. Take walks around your neighborhood to discover restaurants, parks, stores and markets. Spend a night on the couch eating takeout and having a drink while watching a movie or TV show you both love. By spending time together, you learn about each other and grow a bond that lasts past the lease date.

Now, all that’s left is a mezuzah!

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