You’re human, which means that at some point in your life you’re probably going to live with other humans, be they friends, family, partners, enemies or some weird combination of those things.At college, there’s always a million things going on, so taking the time to be a good roommate can fall to the bottom of your priority list. However, whether you live on or off campus, I urge you to take the time to read this list and implement some simple strategies to make life easier for the people you live with.
Cleaning. Wiping off counters, sweeping and cleaning out the fridge are all things that will make roommates happy. However, you don’t want to do it very well. Leave a few splotches of spaghetti sauce here and there, push all the dust and crumbs on the floor into the middle of the room, and throw away some of your roommates’ food. This way, you get credit for doing chores, but they won’t expect you or even want you to do it all the time.
Dishes. I’m putting this one in a separate category because a lot of people get it wrong by assuming that you are supposed to wash your own dishes — don’t make this mistake. Once you’re done with them, leave them in the sink, out on the counter or on the floor. This allows your roommates to take care of them, and when your roommates do your dishes for you it makes them feel useful.
Communication. Try not to talk to your roommates about any issues in your living situation — that will just stress them out. Communication is also a slippery slope that leads to conflict, which should be avoided at all costs.
Noise. If your roommates are being loud, the best way to deal with it is to be louder. You could blast terrible music, scream at random intervals or just start breaking things. This will effectively get your message across without ever having to bring it up directly. Furthermore, if your roommates ever tell you to stop being loud, they are just looking for an excuse to whine and should be ignored.
Personal Hygiene. Try to shower around once a month — any more than that and you risk drying out your skin. Also, deodorant is made of nasty chemicals, so don’t use it.
Guests. Roommates love having guests over — it’s a great way to foster a sense of community. This is why you should keep guests over for as long as possible — at least past 4 a.m. If your roommates go to sleep before they leave, be sure to start being louder so that they can still hear you and don’t feel excluded.
Personal Belongings. The system of private property in the United States promotes widespread social and wealth inequality, which means that morally all of your roommates’ stuff is also yours.
The Little Things. Last but not least, the key to a good living situation is doing the little things. Make gross noises. Leave weird messes everywhere. Set your high-volume alarm for 6 a.m. everyday and sleep through it. Move furniture around without warning and then don’t put it back. Leave mustard on the inside of the lid and then close it so that it dries out and makes a sticky mess the next time someone needs to use it. Individually these aren’t much, but they add up.