Co-living 101: A Guide To Survival While Living With Roommates

Two girls in a park throwing maple leaves up in the air

Moving into your first residence halls or big city livin’ apartment? You’ve seen the TV shows that depict roommates becoming best buddies! Like heading to parties together, hanging at the apartment and cooking magnificent breakfasts, and then even exploring the world together once college comes to an end. But there’s so much more to living with roommates than the television has to offer. You’re going to have to learn how to budget, clean up after yourself and spend a lot of time with someone who’s basically a stranger to you.

But that’s ok, because this is Roomi’s Co-living 101 guide, made especially for people who are about to launch into their first shared living experience and are feeling a little out of their depth.

Establish boundaries when living with roommates!

Establishing boundaries early on means saving yourself from awkward interactions in the future. While it’s important that you and your roommates have personalities that blend well, it’s equally important to understand what you both expect from your shared living sitch.

Have a conversation before the move-in date, to set rules around some key areas. This includes the time you should all wind down or lower the volume each night. If one roommate prefers an early night while the others want to watch horror films together, consider putting the early-nighter in the bedroom that’s farthest away from the common areas.

You also need to get on the same page in regards to chores and finances. Making a chores rota might seem too far (and doesn’t fit in with the cool, laid-back image you’re trying to project), but trust us – you’ll be glad you did. 
Discuss how you plan to split bills and track finances. Decide who’s name is going to be the main account for your utilities, and how you’ll make sure one person isn’t buying all the sugar and hand gel for everyone else.

Embrace the…surprises

Sure – living alone provides serenity and predictability, but it can get boring. In a co-living, you can expect the unexpected.

Embrace this. From quirky roommates to a TV that will only fire up when you slap it in a certain way, living with other people just gives your life a little extra character. First apartments aren’t known for their high-glamour, and your beat-up bedroom. The odd decor and creaky floorboards might get on your nerves now. But we guarantee – you’ll feel nostalgic in years to come when you’re settled somewhere a little fancier.

Be considerate when living with roommates!

We know you want to show off your new-found pad (and therefore freedom) to your friends, but you have roommates to consider now. That means that if you want to throw parties or have groups of friends over (post-COVID, of course), you’ll need to make sure everyone is cool with that. That’s how living with roommates works – it’s a two-way street.

All you really need is a little consideration. Would you want your roommate to bring their friends over while you’re trying to study or just rejuvenate after a long day? Let them know in advance if you expect to have guests (this includes romantic interests!), keep noise to a minimum and avoid partying into the night. Even if you are celebrating your breakthrough into adulthood.

Be friendly…but not too friendly

You don’t want to become that clingy roommate, right? You’re probably super excited about your first dorm experience! And living with roommates is fun guaranteed! But take some time to evaluate the kind of relationship your new co-living buddies actually want. Think & understand before you force a friendship upon them! Some people are more introverted than others; they need their space and engaging them in conversation more often than they’d like can make them feel uncomfortable in their own home.

Just because you’re in a shared living with roommates, you don’t have to be besties. If you’re worried that you’re not bonding as well as you’d expected, don’t let that worry you! Make the effort to get to know your roommate, but if a tight friendship isn’t happening naturally, don’t force it.

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers survive their first shared living experience? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!