This article was first published on MetroResidences under a different title: 9 Tips to Being a Better Co-Living Neighbour (with a bonus tip at the end!)

Co-living comes with numerous perks, but it has some downsides, too—it’s fun, you can meet new people, but you may not necessarily become best friends with every resident in the building. That’s just life! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be respectful and try to get along with others in the co-living space. Consider the tips and tricks discussed in this article detailing how to be a better co-living neighbor.

It’s important to note that we don’t always get to choose who we live with. Some make too much noise, and some don’t talk at all. Some always leave the seat up, while others never do the dishes. Some are messy eaters and some drink milk straight out of the carton (please don’t do this).

It’s inevitable, really. Especially when you bunk with a number of others. Co-living has a multitude of positives but you never know who you will end up sharing a space with.

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing a bad neighbor, you know that you should never let the good ones go. However, if you are that carton-drinking-menace then here is an etiquette to co-living (and life in general) you need to understand.

1. Communicate

You probably know this by now:

The cornerstone of every healthy relationship is proper and frequent communication. This is pretty basic, but people tend to neglect the importance of connecting by talking things out. Communication helps you better understand your neighbor, granting you a chance to form a stronger relationship. 

What can you do to start? You can make an effort to discover their interests when introducing yourself. By establishing a two-way channel of communication, you will be able to build trust and learn more about your new neighbor.

You’ll never know, a warm “Tell me about yourself!” could lead to a great friendship.

2. Cleanliness

Although hygiene standards differ between individuals, basic cleanliness is an easy ‘must-have’. No one likes a messy and dirty housemate that doesn’t clean up. Be conscious of your cleanliness. 

Talk to your co-living neighbor and find out what irks them the most about a dirty house. Are they asking for a bit too much? Or is this something you can work with? Try to find some middle ground. 

Basic things like washing your used dishes or sweeping up bread crumbs left on the floor are a given. You can be comfortable in your own mess, in your own house, but it’s essential to realize that you aren’t the only one living in your co-living space. 

As a result, your mess will become something others have to deal with. That’s just not cool.

3. Be Respectful

An important aspect of shared living is having mutual respect for one another and also having respect for the shared space. Treat your fellow co-living mates as equals. They might come from different backgrounds and cultures.

Your views might not always be the same. However, that does not mean you should treat them any different than you would like others to treat you. Always remember that whatever communal item or space you use has to be properly maintained—others use it too.

If you show a little respect to those around you, they will, in turn, start showing you the respect you deserve.

4. Bringing other people into the house

Even though co-living is all about mingling and making new friends, bringing unknown or new people into the house without giving your housemates a heads up can be somewhat insensitive.

If you are living in an all-female co-living property, you might want to give your neighbors a call before inviting a male friend for drinks.

It’s also nice to let them know if you are having a party or a couple of friends over. Your neighbors might already trust you, but having someone new in their personal space might not be appreciated by all.

5. Be Social

Being social is the best way to establish communication and build a great relationship with your co-living neighbors. What can you do to amp up the fun? Throw a party! 

Show them you’re making an effort to find out more about them. Be a friend and allow relationships to grow. I know, not everyone is that kind of outgoing individual but stepping out and socializing with your fellow housemates will make the co-living experience that much more exciting and worthwhile.

It’s all about putting yourself out there and exploring the minds of other interesting individuals. So don’t be bummer and get involved!

6. Unconscious habits

This next one requires a bit of self-awareness. We all have that one habit that annoys someone else to the brink of insanity. It might be something as little as never closing the fridge door properly or always sneezing like an air horn. 

These beautiful nuances make us who we are, but they can also chase your housemate out the door! Here’s some advice: next time you feel that aura of disdain when you’re chewing with your mouth open—take a hint.

Small changes such as this can turn into a big positive when forging a relationship between you and your co-living neighbor.

7. Try to do something nice

The first few key moments of interaction between two strangers can sometimes yield great rewards in a long-lasting relationship. Doing a solid or going out of your way to help your co-living mates is a great way to build trust and get them to like you.

And the best part about making someone happy is making you feel happy. “Doing good deeds bring happiness, Doing evil deeds brings suffering.”

It really doesn’t take a lot to do something nice. A morning cup of coffee, doing the dishes or saving that last cookie; these are simple actions that could make someone’s day. 

Putting the effort into doing something good for your neighbor will show how generous and nice you are with others. And who knows, maybe one day someone will greet you with a nice cup of joe.

8. Be aware of crossing lines

In shared spaces like co-living and cohousing, it’s easy for lines between private and communal areas to blur. Spending a lot of time with others in your shared home can leave you yearning for your own personal space, which often becomes your room.

It is important that all co-living individuals realize the importance of this personal space and that it is fully respected. Do not enter their rooms or private quarters without their supervision, no matter how buddy-buddy you are with your new neighbors

Human beings tend to latch on to such things and personal boundaries can get territorial. So even if it’s just to borrow someone’s laptop charger, always ask beforehand. It’s best if you try to do it when they are present in the room.

9. Handle problems maturely

It’s common to have disputes while residing in co-living spaces. The important thing is how well you handle these problems. If you find anything that you are not okay with, raise the problem with your co-living neighbors, but do so in a mature way. 

Many times, people lose their self-control and get involved in heated arguments with their neighbors. Swallow that ego and take a step back. Cool-heads solve disputes, and hotheads only escalate the issue. 

Remember, you have to see this person every day. Don’t ruin your experience over trivial matters.

Final Thoughts

Living in shared accommodation can be exciting. You get to meet new people, experience new things and make friends along the way. To ensure a great stay for you and those around you, it requires some self-awareness.

Everybody wants to live comfortably and in a shared space, comfort comes hand in hand with happiness. So, follow the tips, tricks, and etiquettes in this ultimate guide and you’ll be sure to live happily in the comforts of co-living.

MetroResidences is an online apartment booking platform which sources serviced residences to match your specific living needs. We remove the hassle from booking serviced apartments; connecting people to homes by providing a variety of options while building a community of trusted owners and tenants. Check out our Expat Life blog for tips and guides about Singapore-living!


Joe Frabotta is the Director of Marketing at Anyplace. He's a part-time nomad, traveling + working throughout the year but also having a home base in the mountains of Asheville, NC. When he's not working, you'll probably find him playing guitar, doing a section hike on the Appalachian Trail, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Write A Comment