How to be a good roommate


Photo courtesy of Getty Images - Tom Merton

Roommates hang out with each other.

Kendall George

Are you a bad roommate? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. There are plenty of characteristics that can label someone as a “good” or “bad” housemate, but there are gray areas as well.

A “bad” roommate usually entail qualities like messy, mean, loud, bad at cooking and bad music taste. Qualities like being happy, clean and friendly are usually associated with being a “good roommate.”

The honest reality of roommates is that none of them are going to be “perfect.” Yes, there will be people who are a better match for you than others. But in general, living with someone is always work, especially when it comes to college roommates.

There may be people you live with who have different styles of music and come from different backgrounds and cultures- with pasts that cause them to have anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. These are things that neither they nor you can control. This does not mean they are bad roommates.

Bad roommates are people who steal from you, throw out your food, or pour maple syrup all over your stuff. But they’re not people who might be different from you, have different music tastes, food preferences or lifestyles than you. Sure, they might not be the best fit, but labeling them a bad roommate isn’t accurate.

Want to see if you’re a good roommate? Look below:

1) Do the dishes at least twice a week.

2) Check in with your roommates every once in a while to see how they’re doing.

3) Don’t play music too loud at bad hours of the day.

4) Own up to your mistakes.

5) Have an open mind about others.

If there are at least four of these that you can identify with closely, then yes, you’re most likely not a horrible person to live with. There may be things that annoy the other people in your house, and vice versa. However, all together, there is nothing you have to worry about.

Now, look at this list:

1) Roommates barely talk, and when they do they seem distant, off-putting, etc.

2) You don’t clean, but it’s “whatever” because it’s not my mess anyway.

3) After cooking, you leave the mess out to clean it later, because you don’t want to do it now.

4) You have invited more than 10 people over without telling other living mates.

5) Arguing with housemates is common, just don’t seem to get along.

If you saw four of these that you can identify with, it might be time to take a step back and see if the people you are living with are right for you. Perhaps there’s an issue with you not being aware of how your actions might affect those you share a house with. No big deal, this is the perfect time for some self-reflection.

Long story short, you’re probably not a bad roommate. For those who are, there is always a chance for change, whatever that may mean to you.

Kendall George can be reached at [email protected] or @Kendallmgeorge