College is a time for new and incredible experiences. One of the most nerve-wracking new experiences can be living with a roommate for the first time. However, with open communication, a bit of tidiness, and respect, living with a roommate can be one of those college memories that you’ll cherish forever.


It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to rant to your mom, significant other, or best friend about all your roommate’s annoying habits and never address the problem with the one person who can actually fix it.

Set expectations early

Some issues can be avoided if you set expectations with your roommate from the get-go. We all have certain quirks and things around the house we really care about. Does it drive you crazy when people’s clutter is left in a common area? Tell your roommate right off the bat. Are you really cold-natured and need the thermostat to stay above a certain temperature? If your roommate knows from the beginning, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Be upfront about problems

No matter how much effort you both put into being good roommates, problems are bound to come up. When they do, be upfront about what’s bothering you. Saying, “Hey, I actually bought that milk just for me, so it would be great if you could buy your own and not drink mine from now on,” is going to be received so much better than a passive aggressive sticky note on the carton that says, “Just for Taylor!”


We all either think we’re tidy or don’t mind that we aren’t, but chances are that you and your roommate will have differing expectations of cleanliness.

Clean up after yourself

Now that you live with someone, it’s important to respect the common areas of your apartment. Did you kick off your shoes while you were watching TV? Take them to your room when you’re done. Did you eat a bowl of ice cream when you got home from studying? Don’t leave it on the kitchen table when you finish.

Establish a chore routine

Some people take out a trash bag and leave it by the door until they leave the house, and others take it straight outside. Some people leave their dishes in the sink for days, while others do them as soon as they’re done eating. Regardless of your preferences, make sure you and your roommate establish a chore routine that will keep you both satisfied.


At the end of the day, being a good roommate comes down to respect. If you are respectful of one another, then even when problems arise, they will be easily resolved. For the most part, you will live harmoniously.

Respect your roommate’s schedule

If all your classes start at 8 a.m. but your roommate doesn’t have class until noon, try not to wake them up as you’re getting ready in the morning. If you’re a night owl and your roommate has a strict 10 p.m. bedtime, be as quiet as possible when you’re rummaging through the fridge for a midnight snack.

Respect your roommate’s stuff

If your roommate brought a coffee pot to the apartment and put it on the kitchen counter, chances are that it’s all right for you to use it. If your roommate bought a new pair of earrings and put them in her jewelry box, you probably don’t have the right to wear them without her permission. All roommates have their own boundaries when it comes to sharing stuff, so just make sure you and your roommate are on the same page.

Be open to change

Being respectful of your roommate will probably mean that you’ll have to change some of your habits. That’s O.K. If both of you are open about changing some things here or there so that everyone can live happily, you will have a wonderful experience living together.

Remember, college is meant to be a time of growth and transition into the “real world.” The habits that you pick up in college will probably carry over into other aspects of your life, like a job or marriage. Make sure you’re as good of a roommate as you’d like to one day be an employee or a spouse.

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