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uni-life 4 Min Read

5 things you need to know about living with housemates

By Emma 23 Jul 2019
Image of housemates.

Moving out of home and living with a roommate is one of the first experiences that really make you feel like a grown up. It is empowering and liberating and you will learn a lot about yourself and them. This can be a great thing, but living with another person, whether you know them already or not, can result in many an awkward situation if you’re not careful!

If you've never lived out of home before, I hope the things I’ve learned will help prepare you for the experience.

1. It’s important to have ‘the talk’ early

Nobody likes having ‘the talk’, but it’s important you nut out some of the gritty details before moving in with someone, whether they’re a stranger or your best friend. If you don’t, you might not like what you discover about each other further down the track, and there’s a price involved in breaking a rental bond!

Things to discuss to avoid awkwardness later on include:

  • Furniture: Who has what and who will pay for what? What will happen once you no longer live together?
  • Groceries: Shop together or buy own? How possessive of your food are you?
  • Bills: How will you split the payment of rent and bills?
  • Chores: How will you divide chores?
  • Personality: How studious are you? When do you go to bed? What do you really want out of roommate?

You might think that if you’re moving in with a friend it’s not important to have these discussions, but the truth is it’s even more so! The added benefit of talking it out is that you will learn more about the person you are going to be living with and you’ll improve your communication skills.

2. Everyone has weird habits

No matter how hard you try to hide them, everyone has weird habits that will come to the surface when you live together. While it might be scary revealing your weird habit to your roommate, it’s important you can be yourself in your own home.

When I moved in with my best friend, I discovered I'm not the only one who wears pyjamas all day if I don't have to go out. This shared quirk helped us establish an understanding—what happens in our home, stays in our home.

Of course, being a nudist is probably something you should disclose to your roommate before you move in, because while it’s important to be yourself, you also need to be respectful.

3. Have respect for their differences

Everyone is different and being a good roommate is about respect and compromise. While you can expect to be responsible for your own chores and bedroom, sharing a space with a roommate can also mean you have to be a little lenient.

For example, even if you’re used to keeping the kitchen sparkling clean, you can't expect your roommate to have the same obsession. If you find yourself holding on to anger about how you feel they’re not contributing to the house chores, make sure you talk to them before you get to bursting point.

4. It’s ok if you don’t get along with their family and friends

It’s inevitable that your roommate’s friends and family are going to pop by at some point. While there’s nothing to say you have to get along with them, if you’re invited to hang out or to share a drink or a meal together, it can be a nice way to unwind and to get to know your roommate a little better.

If you discover you don’t like one of your roommate’s friends or family members, it’s probably best to keep it to yourself. To avoid any awkward situations, discuss checking in with each other before asking people over. That way, you’ll be able to plan an exit strategy if you need to and neither of you will get caught in your PJs by unannounced guests!

5. It's ok to take time for yourself

While having a roommate means you will often have someone around to talk to, it’s also ok to take time out to yourself. If you’re like me, at the end of a long day all you want to do is get into bed and binge-watch Netflix. Don’t feel bad about not being bubbly and sociable when you get home. It’s not selfish to look after yourself, and your roommate will understand, as they probably feel the same way themselves from time to time.

There are many benefits of living with a roommate, but, like any relationship, it might take time to adjust and feel comfortable with each other. So what’s the key to getting along and being able to enjoy your living space? Communication and respect.

Just moved into a sharehouse? Jess has some inside tips on 5 problems you might encounter and how to solve them.

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