It can be challenging to find a place you can afford in NYC. When you add a new roommate (or more!) into the mix, the apprehension and anxiety can build quickly.
There are always risks to consider when starting new chapters in your life. Whether you’re a student moving into your first place or sharing with a roommate for the first time, here are some steps you can take to make the transition easier to manage.
Tips for Easing into a New Roommate Relationship
1. Offer a friendly introduction.
Successful relationships start with communication. If you’re open and honest with each other, you can get the roommate situation started on the right foot. It can feel awkward or intimidating during those initial conversations.
When you take some time to break the ice, share a fun activity, or ask questions in a genuine attempt to get to know the other person or people, everyone’s comfort levels can start rising.
2. Keep the conversation active.
Some conversations with roommates are unpleasant. When you share space with people, conflicts, annoyances, and arguing can happen. Instead of stuffing your emotions inside to let them fester and erupt, the best option is to have an honest and polite talk about what bothers you.
If you allow the same in return, you can have objective discussions instead of a heated argument that could lead to something that you both regret.
3. Set some ground rules right away.
If you want to avoid conflict in your roommate relationship, the best step you can take is to set some healthy boundaries and ground rules. There should be mutually agreed upon consequences for when these guidelines get broken. Most situations can be governed by common sense. If you didn’t buy the takeout or the toothpaste, don’t automatically consider them yours to have.
4. Sharing sometimes makes financial sense.
Some people have significant problems with sharing their items. Others have no problem letting you have access to the things they’ve purchased. It is often helpful to create an expense list for the month where everyone is responsible for providing items to the home. When everyone pays a little for everything, it often costs less than each person buying what they need.
5. Settle on some quiet time.
Each roommate has a schedule to balance with the need to relax, unwind, and have some quiet time at home. It helps to agree on what times loud music is appropriate and when sleep or studying requires silence.
There are always workarounds that can help you get along with your roommates. If you’re working opposite schedules, noise-canceling headphones can let you enjoy loud music without being a disturbance.
6. Everyone needs to be helping with the chores.
Although chores aren’t a favorite activity in most homes, it’s one of those things that need to get done. Instead of making one person feel like they’re doing all the work, it helps to create a schedule, calendar, or chart where these responsibilities get divided.
Some people cannot contribute equally because of their job responsibilities or other factors that keep them away from home. In that situation, perhaps offering to bring food or getting on the schedule when it is possible can ease some tension.
7. Have an exit plan.
Even when you and your roommates work hard at creating a cohesive and friendly home, some personalities don’t get along. You might not dislike each other, but life might get to a point where you need to go in separate directions.
The first step is to talk things out to see if an alternative plan can get developed so that everyone can stay together and be happy. Should that effort be unsuccessful, it helps to create an exit strategy so that you can get out of there without spending a fortune.
You’ll need to think about your rental costs, the share of utility or cable expenses, and other factors that could get expensive quickly.
Moving in With a Roommate Can Be Fun?
Although living with a roommate can be challenging, it is also one of the best opportunities to make a new friend or form a relationship. It doesn’t always work out, but plenty of people continue to be best friends with their roomies.
When you take these steps to move in with a new roommate, it’ll be much easier to find the positives in this unique opportunity. You might feel a little nervous, but don’t worry – the other person likely feels the same way.