Are you sabotaging your relationship with your roommate?

5 common mistakes and how to avoid them


Living as an Erasmus student in a different country can feel very refreshing as it probably is the first time you are ever living alone. Well, alone is a pretty strong word, as in most European countries the rents are high enough not to allow one person to rent an entire flat by themselves. That’s where the roommates come in. One or more of them, are there to keep you company in this new adventure, as well as to remind you to never forget to wash the dishes you left in the sink. Living with someone else apart from your parents can be challenging, as you have to improvise and adapt every step of the way. So, what are the big DON’Ts that cost you your mental health when living with a roommate?


1. Just wash the damn dishes


Do I sound like your mom yet? I probably am, because this is the part of your life when you finally understand that the woman was right all along. When you are living with someone, you have to make sure to respect their boundaries, especially if you see that something you do annoys them. Of course, this works vice versa, as you can’t be the only one who compromises when the other person ignores your needs. Maybe that stack of dirty plates you left in the sink doesn’t annoy you, but it may be a problem for your roommate if, for example, they want to use one of the pots buried in there. Try to have some empathy and co-living is going to be so much easier for both of you.


2. Pay attention to the garbage can


There are several chores that each person does their own, such as washing the dishes or doing laundry. However, there are some other ones that require all of the roommates’ attention. Making sure that the garbage bin doesn’t overfill or cleaning a shared bathroom are things you need to be aware of. Maybe you and your roommate are close enough to not need a written-down rule list about who is doing what in the house. But if you do, make sure to stick with it and have in mind that this is your house too for the next couple of months. You want to have it kind of clean at that time, no?


3. Party animals


As in the common mistakes described above, empathy is a very important key to have in mind. The same goes for organizing house parties. You have to sense (or even better, just ask!) your roommate about where they stand on this. Make sure to reach an agreement that benefits you both, without suffering from the lack of human contact. Once again, establish some ground rules that will keep you both happy without annoying each other. It’s that simple!

4. Language barrier


When you are living in a house with more than one roommate, you can find yourself in a situation where there might be several people who speak the same language. Make sure to have no one left out, as it can create a feeling of dysphoria in the house. Address the need for a common language – that is usually English – and be aware not to use your mother tongue that frequently when there are other people present. After all, you wouldn’t like to be left out of a conversation because you couldn’t understand the language as well, no?


5. Hey roomie!


Finding the balance between spending time with your roommate and getting some alone time is crucial. Once again, you need to understand how the other person is reacting and if they want to be left alone at some times. The same, of course, works the other way too. You can always let your flatmate know that you need some rest, or do not want to talk to anyone for the time being. Communication is the key, followed again by empathy. Master these two and you are about to have a great relationship with your roommate at no time!

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