5 Golden Rules of Being a Great Coliving Roommate
by Thom Brown
Moving into coliving accommodation can be daunting for the simple fact that you know you’ll have to share facilities with others. You undoubtedly want to make the best impression possible and – if all goes well – a few new friends. This is possible if you learn how to be a great coliving roommate. That means learning the house rules for shared living so that everyone gets along swimmingly.
Ready to be the best roommate ever? Here are five qualities to work on.
- Be Adaptable
The one key trait that nomads should try to cultivate is adaptability. You can’t guarantee that you’ll get a roommate who exactly complements your personality and outlook on life. Therefore, you need to find a way to fit into any situation and get along with anyone you meet. This is a useful trait not just for coliving spaces but for your social and professional life, as well.
You’ll find you live with different types of people. They may be more introverted, genuinely enjoying being left alone as much as possible. If you want to be the best roommate, then you’ll give them that space. At the other end of the spectrum, they may be highly social, always wanting to chat and hang out. In this case, you’ll be a great roommate if you’re able to give them this social stimulation.
This doesn’t mean you should completely reinvent yourself for the sake of other people. You’ll have your own boundaries and personality quirks; be authentic to that. However, you can be true to yourself while also adapting to those around you. It’s too easy just to write yourself off, perhaps labeling yourself as being loud and disorganized as if there’s nothing you can do about it. If you’re living with roommates who prefer a quiet, tidy environment, then work on being quiet and tidy.
You have the potential to adapt to those around you. Take responsibility for this and enjoy the benefits of a harmonious and joyful coliving experience.
- Be Open
Another crucial trait for being a good roommate is openness. Many people grow up surrounded by people like themselves. When you set off into the adult world, whether moving to a college campus or a foreign coliving space, you’re likely to come across people from very different backgrounds. They might observe unfamiliar religious practices, eat strange food, or simply have different interests. They may not speak your language or take their shoes off in the house.
You can avoid a lot of internal worries and interpersonal disputes by being ready to accept these differences. Come with an open mind, ready to learn from a new culture rather than be offended by it. Your roommate may have a completely different personality to you, as well. In this case, you might not be best friends but you can still be excellent roommates.
Openness also means being open about who you are and what you want. Even if you’re an introvert, try to be upfront about your background, what you do, and what you’re interested in. This will help your roommates get to know you quickly, which builds rapport and avoids conflict down the line. If you like things done a certain way, then talk about this in a tone that is non-demanding. Your roommates can’t accommodate you if they don’t know what you want.
Being open about your life, interests, and career can open a lot of doors. It could lead to you forming lifelong bonds over a certain band or collaborating on a business idea together.
- Be Considerate
In any living situation, you should be respectful of your roommates, especially when it comes to making noise. In a coliving environment, though, this is even more important. While this is a great social space, it’s also a workspace. Other guests need to be given the opportunity to sleep well and be productive. Use headphones to listen to music or watch TV.
One of the most important house rules for shared living is also setting clear boundaries regarding property. You should never use your roommate’s stuff without asking. That means everything from a Macbook to a box of mac ‘n’ cheese. Some people are relatively relaxed about other people touching their stuff but others really aren’t. Play it safe and assume that you can’t use something that clearly belongs to someone else.
These shared living house rules come down to one basic mantra: always be considerate. Consider how you would feel if someone was throwing a loud party while you’re trying to sleep. Consider the consequences of your actions and how they affect others. Keep this in mind at all times and you shouldn’t have too many disputes with your housemates.
- Be Clean and Tidy
No matter how messy and disorganized you are in your private space, the bare minimum for being a good coliving roommate is cleanliness. By their nature, coliving spaces involve communal areas. If you’re leaving a mess behind, then you’re directly impacting the well-being of others. You’d have to be incredibly lucky to find a roommate who is totally okay with your dirty dishes taking up countertop space.
Being clean is also a matter of basic hygiene. Due to the pandemic, this has gained so much importance in people’s lives. We now sanitize our hands every time we enter a shop or get onto a bus. This wasn’t the norm a couple of years ago, but it seems that it will be the default habit for the foreseeable future. You should apply similar practices to your coliving space, washing your hands when you come home and regularly cleaning surfaces.
Your roommates may already be nervous about living closely with strangers. If the whole space is kept tidy and hygienic, then much of these anxieties will be reduced. Outside of health and safety factors, being tidy also maintains the home as a nice place to be.
An uncluttered workspace is productive for all involved. A tidy living space is relaxing, reducing the stress that can lead to household arguments.
- Be Realistic in Your Expectations
Finally, it’s important to lower your expectations. Your roommates won’t be perfect, nor should they be expected to be. If you’re constantly picking them up on everything they do that slightly annoys you, then you’ll just get on their nerves and conflicts become all but inevitable. It’s important to set boundaries but ultimately, compromise is key.
If you want to live in a space that is exactly tailored to your wishes and demands, then get a private apartment. A coliving space necessarily requires living with other people and that means accepting that things won’t always go your way. Roommates may leave the TV remote behind a couch cushion, make too much noise in the evening, or cook foul-smelling food. These are the kinds of inconveniences that come with this lifestyle.
It’s also entirely possible that your time spent in a coliving space is the best of your life. You might enjoy every second and become best friends with your roommates. However, this is an ideal scenario. If you set your expectations a little lower, then, whatever happens, you’ll be satisfied with the situation.
Now that you know the house rules for shared living, you have the knowledge needed to be the best coliving roommate. This means you can move into shared accommodation without fear, confident that you’ll form strong and meaningful connections with your fellow inhabitants. Just remember to be adaptable, open, considerate, clean, and realistic. Follow these five rules and you’re bound to get the most out of your time spent in a coliving space.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.