How close is too close
Once you have become a tenant in someone’s home, the last thing you or the others need is drama. Here is where being proactive should supersede being reactive. The most operative word in this case is boundaries. Respecting the boundaries of others while establishing boundaries for yourself can be immeasurable and could help avoid distention.
The thing that causes most fallouts in shared room environments is to lend or borrow money. Nothing turns a friend into a foe like the lack of responsible transfer of good ole U.S. currency. My advice is just don’t do it; like Nancy Reagan so eloquently stated “just say no.” Never lend money that you can’t afford to lose and never borrow money that you won’t or can’t be willing to pay back… as prescribed. I’d rather lose an associate (because a friend would not break off a relationship due to you not lending them YOUR money) with my money in my possession, than lose an associate and my money. It’s really that simple. Borrowing or lending personal items can be equally problematic. Know who you’re dealing with.
Give everyone their space and insist on your space as well. Any time a person crowds another it’s a recipe for bad vibes. It’s common. You move in and there are common threads. A bond is formed. One person becomes too clingy (they only have you as a friend or someone is trying to curry favor yet is not authentic). The next thing you know, bad blood is sown and a total avoidance is in play by one or both parties. Remember to be cordial but never overbearing with your new roommate(s). I generally give the advice to “treat your neighbor(s) as if you were staying in an apartment complex.” If the landlord stays on the premises this can be equally tricky. Everyone wants to be the “teacher’s pet.” Don’t fall into the trap of trying to compete with the landlord’s favor. It’s always ideal in these types of living arrangements to have a life outside of home as well. You will appreciate the personal time and so will your roommate(s).
Always be respectful of others. If you like your music loud, use headphones. If you have different schedules make sure you try not to disturb others when leaving or entering the house. Be mindful with what are really the simplest of things that disturb people. Try not to slam doors or cabinets, try to walk lightly and not stomp on the floor. Clean up behind yourself… clean up behind yourself! No, that’s not a typo. Wash your dishes after you’re finished with them. Very few rooming situations offer cleaning services. You don’t want to clean up behind anyone and they feel the same way.
Most room/sharing arrangements are successful only when all parties are considerate of others. It’s the adult approach to living with others. Govern yourself accordingly and, in turn, you will have a better chance of enjoying a drama free, comfortable living space.