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How to Be a Fantastic Roommate (Even if You're Not BFF's)

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You may be considering the idea of moving into an apartment with a roommate, because split rent and utility costs as well as the possibility of a life-long friendship seems like a pretty amazing package not to pass up.

Most of us have probably gotten this hopeful idea of lasting friendships and views on roommates from television shows and movies. Monica and Rachel’s relationship (Friends) was one we all looked up to and aspired to have. When Monica reluctantly offered Rachel a spare room inside her grandmother’s Manhattan apartment, after Rachel left Barry at the altar, the former pals were able to rekindle their friendship and became the epitome of what the ideal roommate bond looks like.

Unfortunately, not all roommates turn out to be BFF material. Tempers may flare when one does something the other doesn't approve of, or the pressure to become a dynamic duo can be insurmountable, causing a rift or irreparable damage to the roomie relationship. 

If, for some reason or another, a bond doesn't form between the two of you, it's integral to remain cordial and communicative for peaceful coexistence. Here are some areas to think about to be a fantastic roommate, even if you're not best friends forever:

Don’t hold back, say what you need to upfront

Sharing a space with someone will eventually strike a nerve somewhere. When you live in close quarters with another, it’s impossible not to pick up on their habits and idiosyncrasies. Before you go off on your roommate for blasting his music at 3 AM or for not tightening the lid on the peanut butter jar before putting it back in the pantry, remember there are things you do as well that annoy your roommate.

If you feel strongly about something –don’t hold back your voice. Share your opinions and feelings with the roommate upfront so you don’t have any issues down the road.

Your roommate is (probably) not psychic              

So you just came home from a shopping trip, dripping with new shoes and accessories, when your roommate's boyfriend calls. Because she isn't in the apartment at the moment, you take a message.

In this example, it's courteous to write down the message and place the note somewhere she is guaranteed to find it, like her bedroom door or bathroom mirror. Don't rely on memory to pass along a message, sometimes things pop up and you forget to relay the information. Your roommate is not psychic; she won't know that someone was trying to contact her. 

Try keeping a message board in a high-visibility area of the apartment so messages won't go unnoticed. Joey and Chandler had a Magna Doodle on their front door to write messages for each other. 

Not BFF's? You still should get along

Just because you share an apartment together doesn’t mean you have to be BFF's. It’s great if you do find a forever friend through the experience, though. The key to living cordially and in the good graces of one another is to respect each other and one’s belongings.

Set up parameters for food and cleaning

Food is a typical catalyst for an argument between roommates. I think we all have had that one roommate who would eat your leftovers without asking, or who binge on your snacks and drinks and not even replace them. It’s essential for two+ people living together to set up parameters in regards to food and cleaning the apartment, so one doesn't lose their cool later on.

Talk with your roommate and set up an agreement in regard to food. Decide mutually on what is up for grabs, what cannot be touched, and how you will replace it when it’s running low. An agreement can also be made to follow a cleaning schedule, so everyone is aware of their responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of the apartment interior. And if they don’t hold up their end of the deal, reference back to the signed agreement. 

Have you found your new roommate and in search of an apartment to live in? Check out the real-time apartment listings on Apartments.com! If you need something a bit bigger, we also have homes, townhouses, and condos for rent. 

If you have a roommate story you'd like to share, share it with us at myrenterstory.com! Now until 11:59 PM June 8th, your renter story could be worth $5,000! Apartments.com's #MyRenterStory contest is taking place right now, click here for details and contest regulations.

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