Are you currently living with one or more roommates?
Here are some guidelines that can help you have a productive conversation about shared resources such as food, common living areas, utilities, and storage spaces.
Set Clear Expectations
To start, take a minute to reflect on your own needs, preferences and boundaries.
Do you prefer to share common grocery items or use your own?
What's the cleanliness level that you expect?
How do you feel about having guests over?
Decide what works for you.
Conversation Tips: Sharing Groceries
Let's imagine that you don't want to share common grocery items such as cooking oil, herbs and spices with your roommate.
State your 'why': the reason for your preference to keep groceries separate.
I generally prefer to buy my own items instead of sharing, that way I can keep track of what needs to be replenished.
I've shared groceries with roommates in the past, and we always seemed to run out of things! That's why I like using my own items.
Divide Up Space
Should the fridge space be divided exactly in half? Does one roommate need more cabinet space? Make these decisions right at the outset to avoid confusion.
Conversation Tips: Sharing Fridge Space
Try and find a win-win scenario. Let's say your roommate needs more space for frozen food, and you like buying different types of jam and could use more room in the fridge door.
I noticed that you're struggling to find space in the freezer. I'm having the same problem in the door section. How about we make an arrangement that works for both of us?
Set Up Payment Systems
Find ways to pay for expenses evenly, and decide on ways to transfer money to make sure all debts are paid.
Divide responsibilities among roommates to avoid overburdening one person
Use apps such as Splitwise and Venmo to facilitate and track payments
Conversation Tips: Splitting Payments
Let's imagine that your roommate prefers to wait till the end of the month to split all expenses, whereas you prefer to review payments more frequently.
Why don't we split expenses as they come up instead of waiting till the end of the month? That way, we can save time and only focus on divvying up big bills (like utilities) at the end of the month.
Clear And Open Communication
Try and have open, honest conversations with roommates whenever an issue comes up. Remember, being transparent is generally the best way to avoid major conflicts in the long run.
Your roommate routinely uses your dishes without asking you first. While you don't mind this once in a while, it has recently been happening every day and you would like it to stop. What should you do?
Establishing a good relationship with your roommates can take some effort, but it can make your overall living experience so much better! It's worth taking the time to set clear boundaries early on to make sure everyone is on the same page.