We've all heard stories of a roommate situation gone wrong. Whether it's hearing your roommate having loud sex on a Monday night or cleaning up their leftover pizza boxes for the third time that week, we've heard it all before. If you're looking to find that happy roommate story, then look no further — here's a guide to roommate etiquette.

Discuss your expectations

Before you move in with your new roommate, make sure you have "the talk" with them. It may be awkward at first, but it's important to address issues like shared spaces, cleanliness, guests, studying, partying and hookups. You may not feel comfortable with your roommate playing League of Legends and Skyping loudly at 3 a.m., and that's OK. Be honest about what you like and dislike and what your habits are. You're going to be living with your roommate for at least a year, so having this discussion will make sure that you and your roommate are aware of each other's expectations.

Be open-minded

Things that you're OK with may absolutely horrify your roommate. When you're having a conversation with them, make sure you actively listen to their perspective. Western University brings together a multitude of people from various backgrounds, so their boundaries may be completely different from yours. 

Do your chores

After you've established the ground rules, don't forget to follow through. Although school can get hectic, make time to ensure that you keep common areas clean. Take out the garbage, do your dishes and clean up after yourself. No one wants to wake up to a rancid sink or a million fruit flies.

Don't be passive aggressive

On the outside you might have that "Hakuna Matata" smile, but on the inside you're furious. Don't do that. If you have an issue with your roommate, tell them immediately and be upfront with them. Beating around the bush doesn't help anyone. Make sure you communicate with your roommate face-to-face to ensure that your messages aren't misconstrued. You don't want a Cold War in your own home.

Talk it out

It's good to bring up issues immediately, but it's bad to do so in a dismissive or aggressive manner. Refrain from using accusatory statements that place the emphasis on your roommate. Instead of saying something like "You're lazy for not doing the dishes," say something like "I feel as if I've been taking on more responsibility for the dishes, and I would appreciate it if we both did equal amounts of work." The latter shifts the blame away from the person and makes them less likely to feel personally attacked. Communicating in this manner shows that you're mature and approachable, making conflict resolution simpler.

Be considerate

This goes back to being aware of your roommate's expectations but also being in tune with their thoughts and feelings. If it's 11 p.m. and you know they're asleep, it's best to keep the noise to a minimum. If they have an exam the next day, it's best not to invite 10 people over to play beer pong. It also never hurts to ask your roommate if they're OK with something. Ultimately, you should treat your roommates with respect and consider how they would want to be treated. School's stressful enough, so why make things stressful at home? 


Vivian Cheng is a third year medical sciences student and Culture Editor for Volume 111. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her curating another playlist or thinking about puppies. You can contact her at vivian.cheng@westerngazette.ca.

Load comments