Living harmoniously with other people takes work. We all have our quirks and pet peeves that can make for some difficult situations.
It’s harder than most people think to be a decent roommate.
Living harmoniously with other people takes work. We all have our quirks and pet peeves that can make for some difficult situations. The following are some basic rules of roommate etiquette that I’ve picked up from personal experience.
Field Note 1: Basic human decency
These are common, small quirks that are easy to overlook.
• If you shower slowly, make sure the time you plan to wash won’t conflict with your roommate’s schedule. 1
• If the trash is full, take it out.
• If the dishes are dirty, clean them.
• Do not complain about lack of cleanliness if you aren’t participating in the process. 2
Field Note 2: Living considerately among others
Sometimes in college, we are cursed with early morning classes, and let’s face it, few of us are morning people.
• Inexcusable acts: door slamming, rooster alarm clocks, excessive opening or closing of drawers, swearing.
• If you’re a completely different size, stay out of your roommate’s closet. No one wants stretched-out clothes. 3
• Accidents happen. If you break a roommate’s possession, be an adult and admit it. 4
• If you live in a dorm, your room shouldn’t sound like a rave is going on every night of the week.
• Burned microwavable meals will never make you any friends. 5
Field Note 3: Eating habits
Eating is just one of those things people can’t avoid for some reason.
• It’s crucial to keep your mouth closed while eating. The volume shouldn’t have to be turned up on the TV because you sat down with a bag of chips.
• If you’re splitting a grocery bill with your roommates, you should really be contributing money for the cause. 6
• Don’t leave your food out to rot. When the entire house smells worse than a morgue, you know you have a problem. 7
• Unfortunately, college doesn’t come with handmaids. When the dishes are dirty, guess who’s scrubbing?
Field Note 4: College sex
Just be considerate. Please.
• Under no circumstances should you be loud while your roommate is in the next room. 8
• Your significant other shouldn’t be sleeping over every night. Period. No one cares how in love you are. 9
• Have your bed buddy come over at a time when you know your roommate is in class or home for the weekend. When in doubt, a simple text will do.
• No sleepovers with your roommate’s ex. While sometimes it seems like options are sparse, have a little respect.
With a little effort — and this field guide — anyone can have the college experience that you see in those Photoshopped pamphlets.
1. I take forever in the shower and it drives everyone else nuts. But if I have to wake up at the crack of dawn to shower leisurely, you better believe I’m going to do it.↩
2. The lesson I learned was to simply hand that person a broom. Nothing says “shut up” like some humbling cleaning. ↩
3. Forever among the flat-chested, I learned to stop lending fitted shirts to my D-cup roommate the hard way. ↩
4. I actually had a roommate blow out a speaker on my headphones and give them back. She insisted they worked when she had them, but I had overheard her saying later that she broke them.↩
5. This makes the entire building reek for a few days. When everyone is forced to evacuate, and the fire department gets called, just know that you are universally hated. ↩
6. I had a roommate who insisted that we spent too much money on food. But the thing was, she didn’t spend any money on food, she just ate it all. ↩
7. This really happened. We crawled around on the floor like trained drug dogs until we found the source of the smell. Who said these were the best years of your life? ↩
8. Especially not when they need complete silence to write a 10-page paper. But thanks for making me reconsider my sexuality. ↩
9. Love is nauseating and everyone hates PDA. It probably won’t work out anyway, so stop bugging everyone with your emotions.↩
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