20 Things You Can Do for Your Roommate

Maybe you let slip your New Year’s resolution to “be a better person.” Maybe you need to suck up to your housemates, or make up for a big boo-boo. Whatever the motivation, pony up and take care of your roomie. (They’re not bad tips for romantic relationships, either.)

1. Make extra portions. If you’re cooking for one anyway, double the recipe. It’s gracious to offer a little sustenance to your buddy after a long day at work.

2. Be discreet. Don’t play or relay phone messages from their throngs of admirers in front of another date. Use care when divulging their schedule or social habits.

3. Be discreet. Don’t bag on their habits to anyone who might relay it back.

4. Clean communal areas. Scrub the fridge or the barbeque without being asked (and without being a martyr about it).

5. Be a big spender. Round your half of the utility bills up to the nearest buck or five. You don’t need to split everything to the penny.

6. Leave their stuff alone. Don’t “borrow” without asking, “share” desserts unless invited, and definitely don’t snoop through their mail.

7. Be conscientious of their down time. Everyone needs space and a little quiet to decompress. Be buddies another day.

8. Communicate. Let them know if you’ll be out late or out of town. They worry about you, too.

9. Don’t hog the house. If you monopolize the kitchen or TV from after work until bedtime, they’ll feel like they’re just renting a bedroom.

10. Wash. Wash the cars or dishes, but leave their laundry be. (It can be pretty personal.) Help without expectation of reciprocity – just be nice.

11. Give unsolicited compliments. You can always find one thing to praise.

12. Do a few home improvements. Upgrade the toaster, blender, or stereo system. Even if you take it with you when you move, you’ll both be able to enjoy the benefits now.

13. Be energy efficient. Turn off lights when you leave the room, turn down the AC when you step out, and conserve water. Lower bills help you both.

14. Listen. Let your roomie dish about all the jerks at their workplace. Don’t offer advice, just listen.

15. Pick your battles. Don’t nag them about the direction of the toilet paper roll. Save your confrontations for major problems.

16. Don’t treat your apartment like a hotel. Your overnight guests really aren’t welcome for weeks.

17. Take care of your own. Water your own plants, walk your own dog. If your roomie’s favorite shoes get chewed up, offer ungrudgingly to replace them.

18. Be reliable. Pay your portion on time. Always.

19. Be a good neighbor. Your actions reflect your entire household. If you’re rude to the crazy cat lady next door, who knows how she’ll respond.

20. Say “thank you.” It can be verbal, e-mail, on cards, or with little gifts. Show appreciation for that person who takes care of you right back.

That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

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