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Being a Good Roomate - Things to Avoid

Updated on November 22, 2012

Like anyone who has spent any amount of time living in shared accommodation I've come across far too many people who were never really ready to have left their parents house to begin with. The following is a slightly humorous list of things you should avoid doing if you want to remain in good standing with your roommates, housemates or flatmates based on personal experience of the sort of thoughtless things myself and the people I've shared accommodation over the years have done. I'm sure we've all done at least something on this list but hopefully by avoiding doing these things we may all become better roommates and peacefully co-exist. It's all about respecting your co-inhabitants. Sharing a room or flat with someone can be an amazing experience, no scratch that most of the time it's hell for everyone involved.

Roommate making you feel down? Here's some lovely roses to help brighten up your day.
Roommate making you feel down? Here's some lovely roses to help brighten up your day. | Source

Top 20 Things To Avoid If You Want To Be A Good Housemate

This list is in no particular order of annoyance. If you happen to do say more than five of these things well then end the misery of your roommates and move out to sole accommodation as soon as possible.

  1. Don't leave your dirty dishes in the sink, it's a shared space should be able to be used by all housemates. It's cook, eat and wash in that order, not cook, eat, watch TV, sleep, eat and finally watch roommate clean up after you.
  2. Don't wash the dishes in cold or filthy water. If the dishes are really filthy rinse them before you wash them. If there's chunks of food floating around in your dish water these will attach themselves to any plates you try to wash and come back to haunt your roommate the next time they want to eat something. Likewise cold water is rather inefficient at killing germs and removing grease from dishes.
  3. Don't forget to clean the stove-top if you make a mess. Accidents happen, pots overflow sometimes, but if you don't clean it the next time the stove is used any residues will become burnt on and it'll be so much harder to clean off then.
  4. Don't burn the pans and don't set off the fire alarm every time you cook. You don't need the temperature set to maximum to cook something, turn the burner down, and don't take a shower half way through cooking something it's a recipe for disaster.
  5. Don't scratch the non-stick pans. The coating on non-stick pans is not invincible, it cannot withstand being used as a cutting board for whatever is currently cooking within. Do not use metal implements at all with non-stick pans, use something plastic or wooden instead.
  6. Don't leave pans to soak on top of the stove. It takes all of 2 minutes for water to soak into encrusted, burnt on food remains as good as it ever will. Buy a scrubbing brush and get to work you lazy sod. Your roommate doesn't want to have to scrub off an inch thick layer of crud before they can use the pan.
  7. Don't dry the dishes with a dirty tea-towel. The most hygienic thing to do is let the dishes air-dry, but if you must dry them straight away be sure that you use a reasonably clean tea towel. Be sure to check that the dishes are actually clean and there isn't any food scraps remaining on them before you put them away. If there is see #2 above.
  8. Don't smash your roommate’s dishes when you're angry with them. While it might be satisfying at the time, property damage is never the solution and while you could say it was an accident, karma may get you back.
  9. Don't live in the living room. The living room is a shared space, don't spend most of your waking hours in it. If you know you're the type of person who watches television all day long buy a television to put in your own room. Your flatmate shouldn't have to walk past you in the living room every single time they want to leave to go somewhere.
  10. Don't ask what your flatmate is doing when it's clear that they're chopping vegetables, brushing their teeth, eating something etc. People don't like being forced to state the obvious and your roommate will resent you for it. Make your question more specific and actually put some thought in it so you don't come across as trying to make conservation for no reason.
  11. Don't constantly ask where your roommate is going, what they are eating, etc. Your roommate deserves some privacy, and most of the time you really don't need to know. If your housemate appears to dodge the questions you ask you should stop asking them all together or they'll start to dislike you.
  12. Don't treat you bedroom like a rubbish dump. Buy a small bin for your room and remember to use it, otherwise the smell will soon become unbearable. You probably won't notice it as you'll be used to it but your roommate will be able to smell it from half the house away.
  13. Don't put washing up powder in the fabric softener compartment of the washing machine. Just put the washing up powder down with the clothes in the tub, if you put it anywhere else it never gets fully dissolved and specks of white powder can get on your clothes and your roommate’s clothes the next time they come to wash them. Remember to clean the lint filter at least once a year, so you can at least say you did it once.
  14. Don't invite smokers around without first buying an ash tray. Your roommate does not want to have to pick up cigarette butts just because you don't notice them laying all over the back patio. Cigarette butts are not plant food and are in fact toxic to them.
  15. Don't invite too many random guests over. While it's good to have friends, make sure you can at least trust them or eventually you'll run into a bad egg that decides to steal your flatmates television. I found some chewing gum in the toaster once due to the company one of my previous roommates liked to keep. Make sure to show the guests where the toilet is so that they don't mistake your housemate’s room for it in the middle of the night and barge right in, this has happened several times to me which is several times too many especially when you like to sleep naked.
  16. Don't hold massive parties if your roommates are not 100% keen to do it. If there's any hesitation it's likely they are just saying okay so you don't chuck a hissy fit. Large groups of people make a heap of mess, but you probably won't notice because your roommates will have tidied it all up by the time you get over your hang-over the next day.
  17. Don't throw things out or move things which are not yours without asking. Just because you don't like where something is doesn't mean it has to be moved. Be diplomatic instead and realize that it's not your house.
  18. Don't leave a mess in or on the toilet. Wipe the seat and bowl if you make a mess, simple really. Your roommate shouldn't have to see your interpretations of modern art. Guys in mixed accommodation, just play nice and leave the toilet seat down after you go.
  19. Don't get shampoo all over the walls and floor of the shower. Don't decorate the bathroom floor with toothpaste. Soaps can be slippery, be careful only use as much as you need, you don't have to redecorate the bathroom with the stuff. It’s simple really, if you make a mess clean it up.
  20. Don't have the TV or your music blazing too loudly. Remember that your apartment is a shared space and two people never have the exact same tastes in television shows or music they listen too. Buy some good quality headphones, especially for night listening, the music will sound better anyway.


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