The Roommate Secrets to Success

The best UC Davis roommate I ever had was a riotous, rocking party girl (or “ghost” according to the flow chart to the right from This came as a shock to my friends who knew me as a shy, quiet bookworm, but the reason I loved, let’s call her Trixie, was because she was never there. She was always flitting from one party to another, and came home too tipsy and full of hilarious stories of the parties she’d been to and the people she’d met to worry about whether every last germ had been Clorox-ed from the kitchen (like my next roommate the microbiology major). Unfortunately all this partying didn’t leave enough time for studying and Trixie flunked out after her sophomore year, but I still remember her fondly as a warm and funny and undemanding apartment-mate.

If you’re a neatnik who has found yourself temporarily sharing living space with someone who has a more…shall we say, free-form…idea of tidiness, or if you are stuck sharing a lease with someone who refuses to allow meat or non-organic foodstuffs through the front door, you may want to take a look at some of these roommate suggestions.

1. Take your time choosing the right roommates. It can be tempting to let people move in quickly because you need the money or because you are friends with them. However not everyone will be a good match for your home. It’s worth it to take the time to find people that you think you will want to live with.

2. Make house rules. This sounds cheesy and excessive to a lot of people but it makes things go a lot smoother. There don’t have to be a lot of rules. Just ask yourself which things really matter to you in the home and make a list of them to discuss with the new roomies before they move in. It might be anything from “rent must be paid on time” to “we each take turns cleaning the bathroom once a week”. Whatever is really important in your home should be discussed in advance.

3. Be upfront about how much time you like to spend with people when you live with them.Do you love to go out with your roommates a few nights per week? Do you need to be left alone in the mornings until you’ve had your cup of coffee? Be up front with your new roomies regarding this and things will go a lot more smoothly.

4. Respect everyone’s space. Do whatever you want in your own room or your side of the room but go out of your way to be respectful of your roomie’s space and any shared space. Pick up after yourself in comomon areas. Don’t give in to the temptation to read your roomie’s journal. Be respectful and the house will be nice and calm.

5. Learn to let things go. People have to make compromises when they live together. Learn to let the little things go as you make these compromises. Does it really matter that someone’s cup wasn’t rinsed out or that the computer was left on all night? If it bothers you a lot then bring it up but if it’s a little thing to you then just let it go.

6. Never gripe about your roommates. It’s tempting to vent to others when things start to bug you around the house. Don’t do it. This puts a negative feeling on an otherwise okay situation and starts to create more problems when there really don’t need to be any.

7. Deal with real problems when they arise. Don’t let feelings fester if real issues do come up. When the rent is late, the roomie’s boyfriend is staying over too much or the smell of marijuana starts emanating from the room then you should talk about it right away.

Living with a roommate is not unlike a marriage in that both people have to be willing to work on the relationship and compromise. Go into it making peace with the idea that neither of you will get 100% of what you want. This is a person you’re dealing with, not a pet. Trixie didn’t mind that I left the occasional dish in the sink, and I didn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to make sure she had re-locked the front door when she came home somewhat the worse for wear.

The above tips are a great start to setting your UC Davis roommate situation up for success. If you want more, you can find the rest at Hub Pages.