Some typical ground rules for roommate relationships include not leaving your empty mac and cheese bowls all over the house and not using all the hot water. Beyond that, there can be a lot of room for interpretation when you’re trying to build and maintain a productive roommate relationship.
With hundreds of tenants living in Ellicott Development properties around the Buffalo area, we’ve seen our fair share of roommate relationships – everything from roommates who marked lines on milk cartons to determine whether any apartment residents were drinking more than their allotted share of the communal dairy supply to roommates who happily and harmoniously planned a weekly three-course dinner together to catch up on one another’s lives.
When it comes to maintaining a great roommate relationship, there may be plenty of different factors at play, but for the most part, success boils down to respect and clear expectations. We’ve put together a few tips that may help you guide your interactions and ensure a great positive relationship.
1. Manage money the right way.
A gentleman’s agreement sounds great in theory, but it’s best to take time to draw everything out between roommates as part of the expectation setting process when you move in.
Decide who will manage any shared bills, like internet service, whether any groceries will be shared, and whether you want to split the cost of housekeeping services (at some apartment complexes, like the 500 Pearl apartments, housekeeping is easy to arrange and available at an extra cost – adding a service like this can help to avoid some of the typical roommate arguments that might crop up).
You may want to consider an app like Splitwise or a shared Google Drive spreadsheet to track expenses, so you have the information recorded and there’s no fuzzy math corroding your trust and relationship.
2. Discuss pets upfront.
Many apartment complexes are pet-friendly; in fact, all Ellicott Development apartments allow pets on-site. However, just because an apartment location is pet-friendly, that doesn’t mean the person you live with is necessarily an animal lover.
If you have a pet, disclose it up front and give your roommate a chance to meet the animal first. If you don’t have a pet but think you might consider getting one in the future, make sure your roommate doesn’t have allergies or strong opinions that would make living with a pet untenable for them.
And if you are the one who is not a pet person, make sure you let that be known as well. It’s much easier to discuss these types of topics in the abstract before you move in or consider getting an animal, rather than waiting until you’re face-to-face with a cute, cuddly dog whose puppy dog eyes are staring up at you!
3. Schedule regular meetings.
You and your roommate should both have opportunities to share your issues and concerns in a non-confrontational way. One of the best ways to handle this potentially uncomfortable situation can be setting up a regular standing meeting in advance, rather than forcing one roommate to initiate a discussion whenever something unpleasant comes up.
In this setting, it can be easy to provide both praise and opportunities for improvement. For example, if your roommate has worked with the maintenance team to handle a minor issue in the apartment, you can give them props at the same time that you’re gently requesting they keep it down when they come in from a late-night outing.
The key to these meetings is outlining how they’ll be managed ahead of time, agreeing to present feedback in a respectful way, and deciding ahead of time how you’ll manage the conversation if things become emotionally charged.
4. Understand each other’s schedules.
Early mornings and late nights can be tense times for roommates.
If you’re an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of person, having a roommate who rolls in at 2 a.m. can cut into your REM sleep and leave you cranky. The same goes for night owls who have to listen to their roommate’s alarm get snoozed half-a-dozen times at 5 a.m. each morning.
While you don’t have to be on the same schedule, it can be important to understand how your comings and goings may affect one another, as well as how you like to spend your free time on weekends or days off. If one roommate loves to burrow into the couch and binge Netflix while the other wants to host a party every weekend, you may have difficulty reconciling your schedules.
However, if you discuss them in advance, you can find solutions that will work for both of you; your endorphin-loving roommate may adore having an apartment near Delaware Park where they can get out for a run instead of trying to work out in the shared space, while an extreme extrovert may love the ability to live in a building with an on-site bar and restaurant (like The Fairmont) where they can feel like they’re entertaining at home without actually being at home.
5. Hang out every once in a while.
If you’re sharing an apartment with someone, you should at least know them a little. While you don’t have to be best friends, it’s easier to talk out difficult issues when you have a baseline of friendship and trust to work from.
Plan to go out for a drink or a walk or a dinner every once in a while, to build your relationship. Or, at the very least, plan to go to one of the Ellicott Elite happy hours or special events together. They’re designed specifically for Ellicott tenants, so by attending, you’ll maximize the value you’re getting from your apartment rental.
When it comes to apartments, if you’ve got a place you love and a great person to share it with, you’re pretty lucky. While we can’t provide you the roommate of your dreams, we do have plenty of wonderful, unique Buffalo apartment options that just might fit your needs and make apartment life a little easier and more pleasant.