Andrew Wettengel / Friday, March 1, 2019 / Categories: Work World, Travel


If you’re a traveler, you may have the option of housing with a roommate (or two) at some point in your career. And that could be either a joy or a challenge — or both.

If you haven’t had a roommate since college, you may have forgotten some of the skills needed for getting along with other housing occupants. Here are suggestions for how to make such arrangements run smoothly.

  1. Make sure your new housing includes a separate bedroom or some other private space where you can retreat when you need time alone.
  2. As soon as you move in, have an honest talk with roomies about the key elements that will help everyone get along. Talking points might include cleaning responsibilities; guidelines for outside guests; whether food and meals will be shared; control of the thermostat; control of the TV; noise levels; safety concerns; whether you’re morning people versus night people; what a typical day will look like, etc. Try to speak openly about pet peeves before they become problematic.
  3. Be as open-minded as possible about your differences, taking opportunities to learn new things from new people whenever possible. Share experiences when you get a chance, aiming for a balance of time alone, rest time and social time.
  4. Respect your roomie’s quiet moods and need for downtime.
  5. Take down each other’s cell phone numbers and emergency contacts so you can communicate whenever necessary.
  6. Don’t put out decorations or furnishings in shared spaces without asking your roomie, especially if they’re big or cumbersome.
  7. Leave notes as needed, letting your roomie know when you plan to be home and when he can expect to have the place to himself.
  8. Noise-cancelling headphones can be your friend when one of you needs quiet and the other needs to be noisy.
  9. Be courteous to your roommate’s guests. Instead of tagging along without being invited, try to give him and his guests privacy while they’re spending time together.
  10. If you get sick, do everything you can to keep from passing your illness to your roomie.
  11. Err on the side of being too clean, tidy and hygienic. Pick up after yourself and keep your belongings in your own space unless they’re meant to be shared. Refill toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
  12. Instead of complaining about your roomie behind his back, or on social media, talk to him honestly about any issues. But do pick and choose your battles. Before any confrontation, ask yourself whether an issue is worth making a big deal about given this is a temporary living companion.
  13. Treat others as you would want to be treated. A little kindness and empathy can go a long way toward making life easier for everyone.


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