How to Navigate Life with a Roommate

Dealing with people is tough enough as it is, but what about when we actually have to live with someone as a roommate?


Navigating Life With a Roommate

Personality quirks, schedules, cleanliness, human interaction…it makes my head spin just thinking about it, let alone experience it firsthand! I lived with roommates in the past, and it had some perks, but a lot of the time, it was just a messy disaster (literally). So here are some of my top tips for dealing with the choice of living with someone, whether you are moving in with a friend, they are moving in with you or you simply have to find someone to share a space with.


Set Ground Rules

Written rules are hard to ignore, so grab a pen and paper and get to it. There is no room for passive aggressiveness when you are living with someone, so be firm from the beginning. Talk about things like schedule, visitors, chores and groceries (see below) or lights-out, but make sure you compromise so everyone is happy and comfortable. There is nothing worse than co-existing in a place with a person you don’t get along with!

Be Financially Smart

Do not have one person handle the rent. Instead, deal with the landlord directly. If he sees that you are on time with your payment, you will stay in good graces, whereas if the person turning in all of the rent is late or short on cash, you are in the clear.

Take Pictures

This is an important one, and one that could save you some cash in the end. People have parties, are clumsy or just plain disrespectful. Take detailed photos of your living area as soon as you move in so if something does gets damaged, you are not held responsible.


Nothing is more annoying than going to pack your lunch for the day and seeing that all of your food is gone. Establish what is yours and what is your roommates, and find a system to keep track of what you buy for yourself and what is fair game. It will save on grocery bills, arguments and the risk of going hungry.


Listen, when we go out on our own, we have a choice on what kind of adult we want to be…and that includes whether we want to be neat or messy. Some people have had their parents pick up after them all their life, and some people already have the cleaning-thing somewhat figured out. However, it is a good idea to determine early on who is in charge of communal spaces, such as the floors, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the windows and any other shared spaces. If your roommates want to be messy in their bedrooms, that is their problem, but keeping common areas livable is for the benefit of everyone’s health and sanity.

Whether you are living with a roommate to save money, start a relationship or start your adulting journey, be conscious of these habits so they can stick with you for the rest of your life. It will be worth it.