Practical Tips For Living Harmoniously With A Housemate
You’re moving out from your family home, getting out of your comfort zone, into a new place and adventure; which means you will need to find a place to rent and stay. Living in a house with a stranger as a housemate can sound unnerving and uncomfortable because you don’t know anything about them. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some practical tips for you to live harmoniously with a housemate, inclusive of real-life experiences from yours truly!
1. Get to know them.
Once you have moved into the house, try not to stay cooped up in your room watching Netflix alone. Whenever you see your housemate around the house, strike up conversations with them. You can start with simple questions like where are they from and what they do for a living, and then you introduce yourself the same way. Through this interaction, you can know whether they are the quiet or talkative type. Either way, all you need to do is get to know some of their basic information, not only for your knowledge but also in case of emergencies.
The first time I moved into the house, I started by asking my housemate if they’d like to order dinner or eat out together. Now, we have a habit of having dinner together about 3 to 4 times a week! Amazingly, we still have something to talk about and learn from each other every time.
2. Share responsibilities.
Now that you are staying alone and living with a housemate instead of your family, it is time to start picking up responsibilities around the house, together. Usually, the responsibilities would revolve around keeping the house clean and paying the bills (if necessary). By sharing the responsibilities around the house, it would not be so straining on just one person, which may cause one or the other to feel like they are the only one doing the work. As working adults, both of you can schedule a day in a week or two weeks to do the necessary work.
My housemate and I usually take turns to clean the common area outside our rooms as well as to sweep the dry leaves on the porch once a week. As for the living room and kitchen, we either hire someone to do the cleaning and share the cost, or we clean them together if we’re not exhausted.
3. Set boundaries and rules.
As much as this might sound serious and rigid, it is necessary. Most of the time, the landlords would have common rules like females/males only and no visitations into the house from the opposite genders. For those landlords who do not have such rules, sometimes housemates may have unspoken rules and boundaries themselves. If you would like to set some as well, that is entirely up to you and your housemate to decide. Just sit down and have a discussion, and remember to compromise because you’re not the only one staying in the house.
My housemate and I are pretty chill about this as the only rule we have is that the rooms be rented out to females. Other than that, we are open to any visitors or friends staying over, as long as it doesn’t disrupt anyone or the porch parking arrangement.
4. Always communicate!
In the house, you and your housemate are both adults so there is no need for silent treatment or passive aggressiveness when it comes to dealing with problems. Always keep in mind that proper communication is how you settle an issue. That applies to housemates as well. If there is more than one housemate, create a WhatsApp group so that communications are easier for all parties. Communicate about things that involve everyone in the house, like when your parents are visiting, whether someone is staying over, or when you will be going home for the weekend. If there is an issue with just one housemate, make it a point to talk directly with them to resolve it and avoid gossiping with the other housemates about this. Gossiping does not resolve the issue and increases the tension.
Since it’s only my housemate and me, we do not have a group but we communicate about everything to each other. From planning a weekend activity to updating about neighbourly activities, we have each other in check, always.
5. Be considerate, friendly, and kind.
You and your housemate will be living in the same house for 80% to 90% of the year. Unless you’re planning to move out to your place, this housemate will be your ‘family’, your go-to person whether it’s about cleaning the house or taking you to the clinic. Just like how you live with your family, always remember to be considerate, friendly, and kind to your housemate.
Being considerate means being thoughtful about your housemate whenever you’re doing something, like listening to music out loud or vacuuming your room at 2 AM. Even if your housemate is the quiet type, it wouldn’t hurt for you to be friendly to them once in a while, like inviting them out for dinner or asking them to join you for a hike on a weekend. An act of kindness like helping to pick up parcels or dropping them off at work can go a long way for your friendship too!
It can be daunting to stay with a stranger, but remember that they also feel the same. So keep these practical and simple tips in mind when you move in somewhere or when someone moves into your house. You never know how harmonious living can change a random housemate into a good friend!