Traits of a good roommate

Laureen Horan

One of the best parts about the college experience is the new people you meet and bond with, particularly the ones you live with. Simultaneously, roommates can be a frustrating and challenging part of campus living as well. Whether you move in with an old friend or start fresh with an unfamiliar face, you can’t always control how considerate your roommate will be. What you can control, though, is how considerate you are. There are several traits a good roommate has, all of which are based on respect and personal responsibility. 

When you share a space with someone, whether it’s an entire apartment or a small dorm room, keeping the place clean would seem like common sense. All too often though, one person is left doing more than the other(s) to maintain the shared areas. If everyone uses the shower, the toilet, the sinks, the garbage, the kitchen and so on, everyone should be cleaning those areas frequently. Getting busy or having a bad day here and there is fine, but always leaving your mess for someone else to pick up is ultimately going to lead to tension. 

As a student, homework and projects are inevitable. Everyone needs time and a place to study peacefully for long periods of time. Most people prefer this place to be their home, but that isn’t always possible for students who are paired with excessively disruptive roommates. Before you crank on that music or watch a movie with surround sound, ask your roommate if they need some quiet time or not. This is more important late at night, where people could also be trying to sleep before a long day of work and class. It’s not cool to have someone pay for a place to live if they can’t peacefully sleep or study there. 

Unless you’re fortunate enough to have multiple bathrooms, personal space and time in the bathroom is usually limited. In some cases, so is hot water. Be considerate about how long you spend in the bathroom and when. If your roommates are home, check to see if they need to use the bathroom before you lock them out of the only toilet in the house. Additionally, if you have your own space to do your hair and makeup, try to avoid staying in the bathroom for an eternity to get ready. 

Finally, and most importantly, don’t use things that aren’t yours without permission. Some roommates are fine with buying certain items to share and taking turns on purchasing them. Some would rather buy all of their own food and personal items separately. Either way, don’t use your roommate’s stuff without asking. This includes food, hygiene and shower items, clothes and shoes, personal devices and vehicles. If you do use certain things because you’re in a pinch, replace them. 

When concerns arise, don’t be afraid to address them head on. Open, honest communication is your best bet in any living situation. It’s not always easy to live with someone, especially as you change and grow. Taking small steps to consider the little things can go a long way in making sure your home environment is peaceful and comfortable.