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How to stay friends with your roommates

For many students, the second or third year of college is often the first time they are living completely on their own — without parents and away from the dorms.

Living with housemates for the first time is always hard, but it can be especially tricky when they are your friends. Some friendships may falter, but for the most part, living with friends is totally doable and is usually more fun.

First off, it’s important to coordinate and create systems to maintain a peaceful household. Take turns buying toilet paper. Rotate chores each week. Divide the bills up evenly, or assign one person to be in charge.

University senior Jessica Gonzales thinks it’s important that each roommate is on the same page.

“Before you move in together, establish ground rules of what you expect out of each other,” she said. “Make sure you know what you’re getting into.”

Make a list of house rules or a chore schedule when you first move in, so you can always refer to something in writing if problems arise.

If troubles do occur, don’t be afraid to confront your friend in a respectful way.

“Sophomore year my roommates and I had trouble being fair when taking out the trash and doing the dishes,” University senior Mackenzie Hudson said. “We realized that we just needed to have very open communication and not be afraid to talk to each other and remind each other when it was someone else’s turn.”

Your friend won’t hate you if you politely let them know that it’s their turn to take out the trash.

“If they confront you about something, don’t get defensive, and try to be understanding,” Hudson advised.

You may have to confront your roommates later on about a different problem, so always try to put yourself in their shoes.

Another essential point to remember is that you don’t need to spend every waking minute together just because you are both friends and roommates. Too much time together can cause annoyance and sometimes even destroy a friendship.

“Try not to spend all your time with each other, inside and outside your apartment or house. Have separate friends so you’re not always with each other,” Hudson said.

All in all, friends and potential roommates need to keep in mind that no one is perfect. Roommates will forget to pay their bills or take out the trash once in a while, but it is important not to overreact.

University senior Casey McLafferty has lived with various friends the past four years and has learned that patience is necessary.

“I would advise potential roommates to be open minded. You’ll see some habits and traits of (your friends) that you haven’t been exposed to before. Some will be good, some will be bad,” McLafferty said. “Just remember that you have these traits too and most roommate conflicts aren’t worth getting mad about.”

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