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Roommates are like mayonnaise: you either love them or you hate them. It’s no surprise that college students are often subject to having roommates, and students at San Diego State are no exception. Whether it’s three students together in a dorm room, four best friends in an apartment or 50 in a fraternity house, there are certain rules all roommates must follow.
In order to find, or keep, a roommate, there are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do be honest
Honesty is key in any relationship, even in a relationship between roommates. No matter how big or small an issue may be, it’s important to stay honest with your roommates. Whether that means admitting to “accidentally” eating a roommate’s leftover pizza or shattering your roomie’s favorite coffee mug, honesty is important in all circumstances.
The only time lying may be acceptable is when you lie to yourself about how much time you really have on your research paper, but even that usually ends badly.
Accounting sophomore and residential advisor Conner McIntosh recalled an incident in which a resident of his found out that their roommate had stolen money from them.
When confronted about the issue, the accused roommate lied and ended up later stealing more items from their roommates.
This year alone, McIntosh recalled multiple occasions in which his residents had issues revolved around lying.
“Don’t be afraid to confront your roommates, even when it is uncomfortable,” McIntosh said.
Do set boundaries
Everyone needs their own personal space, so when dealing with roommates, it’s important to set boundaries.
“A big thing with roommates is setting boundaries, and when they’re broken, confronting your roommates about them,” McIntosh said.
It’s important for roommates to recognize when others need their privacy. Certain boundaries include respecting a roommate’s personally purchased groceries, workspace and closet. There is a mutual respect needed between roommates, and that respect is largely needed when creating boundaries.
Don’t overstay your welcome
Some college households are fine with allowing a roommate to have guests over. However, when those guests begin to overstay their welcome, problems may occur. When a roommate’s guest eats, sleeps and basically lives out of the home without paying rent, tension is sure to erupt between roommates.
Communication is key between roommates, said Gerardo Cabral, residence hall coordinator and residential judicial officer for Chapultepec. It’s fine to have guests over, just make sure those guests don’t turn into unwanted roommates.
Don’t invite guests over without asking
A shared space can become a tad crowded when a roommate has guests over.
Be sure to communicate with your roommates when inviting guests over so everyone can be on the same page.
Freshman living on campus are required to complete an official roommate agreement at the beginning of the school year.
Cabral said he frequently has upperclassman returning to the freshman dorms for a copy of these contracts.
“Create your own apartment agreement so everyone can be on the same page and visually see what you agree to,” Cabral said.
These agreements can outline certain rules such as when guests can and can’t come over, when the home should be quiet or when privacy is needed.
Sometimes it’s great to have new people over, but be sure to let your roommates know in advance.
Do your part
Roommates occupy a shared space, so it is only fair each individual contributes their equal share to the home.
This includes cleaning the shared areas, such as the kitchen and living room, and equally splitting shared costs.
When trying to find or keep a roommate, the little things matter, so be mindful of your personal habits that may be bothersome to roommates.
This means washing the dishes you dirty, cleaning the cooking area and taking out the trash.
Doing your part can also include actions such as monitoring how much noise you make when others are asleep.
To have good roommates, you must be a good roommate.