Living with Roommates

Strangers or #SquadGoals? Living with roommates in apartments near USF for the first time can be intimidating. You may not be used to living with others, have heard horror stories of others being friend-dumped after a living situation gone sideways, or any other number of scenarios that may make you second guess sharing an apartment. It’s natural to have anxiety about this new experience, no matter how friendly and easy-going you are.

Have no fear. Rather than focus on the things that could go wrong in a roommate situation, set yourself, and your roommates, up for success by preparing both personally and as a unit for how you’ll manage schedules, handle conflict, share space, deal with guests, and more. Use to find a place. Then, using the following tips, you’ll come away feeling prepared to have a wonderfully positive experience living with a roommate, or three!

Tips for Living with Roommates

Negotiate a "Roommate Contract"

Roommate contracts are a staple of dorm living for many university students. Although most college freshmen groan at this apparent formality, it can be extremely useful to set a few ground rules to stop arguments before they happen. You don't necessarily have to write it on paper and formally sign it, but if you want to put it in writing, here's a complete list of things you might want to include.

If you're feeling less formal, it's fine to just have a conversation about the things you expect from them. Make sure this conversation is fair and balanced. Each roommate should participate and add to the agreement and share their questions and concerns, so everyone feels heard. In addition to more important matters like rent and utility payments, some important topics might be quiet hours, cleaning days, and whether or not you can use each other's personal items. These agreements work to create an understanding between you and your roommates and will likely help you avoid getting on each other's nerves.

Living with Roommates at USF

Consider Shared Spaces

Shared spaces like the living room and kitchen can be a hotbed of roommate arguments waiting to happen, particularly in apartments with three or four bedrooms. Too many cooks in the kitchen, as it were. Unlike your own bedroom, which can be decorated and maintained to your personal preferences, community spaces need to be used and enjoyed by all occupants. A few simple tasks and reminders can help keep the peace amongst roommates and demonstrate that you respect them, and what you expect to receive in return. Things like cleaning up after yourself and consulting roommates on decorating choices in common spaces should always be a priority. It’s also generally considered impolite to invite guests over without warning your roommates, especially if you plan to be using common areas, so be sure to shoot them a text or have a brief discussion before inviting someone over.

An often-overlooked aspect of shared spaces is communal objects or appliances. Living room TV's, for example, maybe the property of only one occupant. It's usually not necessary to ask before using your roommate's TV if it's in the living room, but it can still be smart to exercise caution in this regard. If you've planned a 12-hour Netflix binge, you should probably see if anyone else is planning on using the TV during this time. Even better, ask the owner of the TV if he or she wants to join for some roommate bonding time. The use of simple manners for shared objects will keep you on your roommate's good side and avoid unwanted hostility.

Take Compatibility Seriously

When it comes to roommates, let’s face it, not everyone is compatible. If you're a cozy homebody who prefers peace and quiet, living with someone who regularly throws parties or loves to blast music and practice riffing on their guitar might not be a good choice for you. You and your roommates should be able to enjoy your apartment, so it's important to ensure that you have similar definitions of an enjoyable apartment. Luckily, you’ll be able to utilize roommate matching services at many apartments near USF. These services ask about your living habits, interests, and other important factors to find you a good match. You don't have to be best friends with your roommates but getting along with them is a good start.

If you consider these basic rules for respecting and receiving respect amongst your roommates, communal living shouldn't be too difficult. With good communication, mutual respect, and ground rules in place for dealing with conflict, you’ll have MORE than enough time to have fun and make memories together.

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