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Roommate Etiquette 1

Roommate Etiquette 1

As college students leave home to room on college campuses, and other young adults leave the “nest” to start life on their own, in their first apartment, it is likely that these young people will not be totally on their own.  Most likely their living arrangement will include a roommate, roommates, or even a family. Much consideration is needed for these living arrangements to be successful.  You know what I mean by successful, right?  Just for clarity, I mean that no one is under stress or duress, everyone feels respected and regarded, and at the end of each day, when everyone lays down to rest, they are still on speaking terms.

To address the “roommate” issue, this, and the next two blogs will be dedicated to “roommating” (if there’s such a word) and “rooming” with others.  Shall we start with roommate?

 I’m one to start with a definition, just to make sure we are on the same page.  So, what’s a roommate?  I know that academics do not like to use Wikipedia, so please forgive me, but I must. The definition is clear and understandable and it just makes sense…considering the practical woman that I am. A roommate is a person who shares a living facility such as an apartment or dormitory. Simple enough, right?  It’s a simple term that comes with major responsibility.  Below are a few tips being a good roommate.  Trust me on this.  I had the same roommate for four years during my undergraduate studies.  Many roommates did not make it through the first week, not to mention the first semester.

I even spent a semester away from the campus on an internship and I came back to the same roommate; I was even fortunate enough to have most of the same suite-mates.  Let me repeat…this was for nearly a 4-years.  Did we like each other all of the time?  No.  Were we always in agreement?  Certainly not! Did we ever get on each other’s nerves?  I’m sure we did.  But we also backed each other up; we laughed together, gave each other advice, cried together, partied together and fixed each other’s hair and make-up.  But there are some things we did not do; rather we did not do to a great extent.  We remained friends throughout college and for many years afterwards.  Hummm…I think I’m going to try to find some of those suite-mates.  I’ll let you know when I do. For now, I will share those things that I believe were and remain the keys to have a “healthy”, amiable, and even a long-term roommate relationship.

  1. Take time to get to know each other.
  2. Give each other room (space) even if you are sharing a room.  You really don’t have to talk all of the time and you certainly don’t need to be in someone’s bubble.
  3. Bathe.  Yes, I said it; take a bath/shower daily.  All bodies have odors.  When a body is confined, especially in small spaces, it has a tendency to emit odors that, well, can be offensive.
  4. If you share bills, have your part of the “bill money” when the bill is due.  You may have to delay getting the latest fashion or technological wonder, but never the bills.  Financial irresponsibility and neglect will damage any relationship.
  5. Keep your space as clean and tidy as possible…unless you both decide to be slobs together.
  6. You can be friends and do things together, but give your roommate permission not to be your best friend.  You are not glued at the hips.  Even your “significant” need their own friends.  Jealousy is not cool and certainly not attractive.
  7. Don’t always be the one to eat the last or use the last of whatever it is.  When you do use the last or eat the last, just replace it.
  8. Don’t deny that you didn’t do something (eat the last, use the last) when you know you did.  Own it and correct it.
  9. Do not date each other’s exes.  Just don’t.
  10. Do not date each other’s “current”.  Not cool.


I think this is enough to digest for now.  I thought 10 would be it, but there’s more. I’ll just wrap this up by saying, just remember the Golden Rule.


Until next time, this is Ms. J saying, you can have a successful roommating relationship.