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15 Tips for How to Get Along with New Roommates

Updated on October 30, 2012

I recently got two new roommates and the whole situation is working out fabulously. I have not always been so lucky in getting great roommates. However it isn’t just luck that made this all work out. It’s also the fact that I’ve gotten smarter about picking people to live with and also learned a lot of tricks over the years for getting along with other people in my home. Based on this experience, I’ve gathered 15 tips for getting along with your new roommates that I hope will be useful to other people who have to live with new folks for one reason or another.

Those 15 tips for getting along with new roommates are:

1. Take your time choosing the right roommates. It can be tempting to let people move in quickly because you need the money or because you are friends with them. However not everyone will be a good match for your home. It’s worth it to take the time to find people that you think you will want to live with.

2. Make house rules. This sounds cheesy and excessive to a lot of people but it makes things go a lot smoother. There don’t have to be a lot of rules. Just ask yourself which things really matter to you in the home and make a list of them to discuss with the new roomies before they move in. It might be anything from “rent must be paid on time” to “we each take turns cleaning the bathroom once a week”. Whatever is really important in your home should be discussed in advance.

3. Be upfront about how much time you like to spend with people when you live with them. Do you love to go out with your roommates a few nights per week? Do you need to be left alone in the mornings until you’ve had your cup of coffee? Be up front with your new roomies regarding this and things will go a lot more smoothly.

4. Respect everyone’s space. Do whatever you want in your own room or your side of the room but go out of your way to be respectful of your roomie’s space and any shared space. Pick up after yourself in comomon areas. Don’t give in to the temptation to read your roomie’s journal. Be respectful and the house will be nice and calm.

5. Learn to let things go. People have to make compromises when they live together. Learn to let the little things go as you make these compromises. Does it really matter that someone’s cup wasn’t rinsed out or that the computer was left on all night? If it bothers you a lot then bring it up but if it’s a little thing to you then just let it go.

6. Never gripe about your roommates. It’s tempting to vent to others when things start to bug you around the house. Don’t do it. This puts a negative feeling on an otherwise okay situation and starts to create more problems when there really don’t need to be any.

7. Deal with real problems when they arise. Don’t let feelings fester if real issues do come up. When the rent is late, the roomie’s boyfriend is staying over too much or the smell of marijuana starts emanating from the room then you should talk about it right away.

8. Look for ways to solve problems. Talking about problems means that you figure out what the problem is, what resolution you are seeking and what you are willing to compromise about. Solve problems instead of fighting about them. Don’t try to be right; try to make your home comfortable.

9. Have another place that you can go if you need to get away. There will be times when you just need to get away for a day or two. That’s normal when you live with people. Don’t deny yourself that need. Go to another friend’s place, stay the night at your parent’s, get a cheap hotel room … do what you need to do to make yourself glad to be home again once you get there.

10. Be considerate in little ways. Before you shower, ask the roomies if they need to use the bathroom so that they aren’t waiting to go while you’re in there. Offer an umbrella or jacket to a roomie on a cold and rainy day. Do little considerate things for one another and you’ll like each other more.

11. Take care of yourself and your responsibilities. Pay your rent on time. Don’t let your laundry pile up. Get out of bed even when you’re feeling depressed. Do your fair share of the household chores. If you take care of your part of the bargain then you’ll be able to tell really quickly if your roomies aren’t doing their part.

12. Start a roomie tradition. Whether or not you typically hang out with your roomies, it helps the home situation if you have a tradition. Maybe you all cook dinner together on Sunday nights. Maybe you each take turns picking a movie to watch on the weekends. Perhaps you like walking around the neighborhood and going to yard sales to find little things for the house. Figure out what you have in common and make a shared tradition or weekly ritual out of it.

13. Be honest with your new roommates. The biggest mistake that people make with new roommates is that they are nice instead of honest. Don’t be rude, of course, but be honest about what you want and need from a roommate. This will save you a lot of trouble over time and make you glad that you have the roommate situation that you do.

14. Be honest with yourself. Another big problem that people have is that they aren’t really honest with themselves. They’ll tell themselves that something shouldn’t bother them even though it does and then wonder later why they’re irritated by it. The better you know yourself, the better of a roommate you’re going to be able to be and the better luck you will have at finding good roomies in the future.

15. Be willing to let go. If you’ve given it a good honest effort and things just aren’t working out in your home then be willing to move on. Figure out a way to break the lease, sublet the place, get a new spot to live … whatever you need to do to remedy the situation so that you can get better roommates the next time around.


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