10 Essential Roommate Etiquettes you should know

  • by Tanmayee Sanda
  • 21-09-2021
  • 4 minutes
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10 Essential Roommate Etiquettes that will make you a good roommate


Living together with a supposed stranger takes effort. You have to learn to compromise and adjust according to each other’s needs. But the formula for being a good roommate is straightforward. Have fun together but never test the boundaries of each other. Communicate but understand when to mind your own business. Follow basic roommate etiquettes, so you don’t become an annoyance. 

Etiquettes make things less complicated among roomies as they understand how they should act in a completely new situation. Every house has its own set of etiquette, which everyone is expected to follow. But here is the list of basic etiquette common for all homes. 

We are not sharing a list of rules; we already have too many of those. We are sharing a guide to being good roommates by doing the right thing for others. Here are roommate etiquettes 101:

Establish ground rules and follow them

The first thing you should do when moving in is to sit down and establish ground rules. It should involve everything that is allowed and that is not. Include how to divide the bills, who pays for what, policies regarding guests, cleaning schedule, daily chores, etc. It is a give-and-take conversation. You are deciding what the best way to function in your house is. So first, list the most important things that each of you expects and make sure to follow them.

Respect each other’s personal space

No matter how outgoing your roommate is, everyone requires some personal space. So avoid invading their personal space. Do not enter their bedroom without knocking. Never peak into their mobile phones. Leave the room if you see them talking on the phone. 

Don’t borrow things without asking them

You must first seek permission if you want to borrow something, even something as simple as a hair clip. Even if you have an agreement on sharing things, let them know before using it. Avoid borrowing each other’s cosmetics and other expensive things. And before asking for a personal item, consider if you would be okay to share the same. 

Clean up your mess

If you make a mess, clean it up. It may seem obvious, yet many people become comfortable with their surroundings and lose sight of basic hygiene. If you cook something for yourself, cleaning dishes is also your responsibility. Your roommate may need utensils for their meals, and they should not have to clean up after you. Make your bed daily and maintain your bedroom clean and tidy. Don’t leave your shoes, socks, clothing, and other personal stuff lying around the house. If you share a bathroom, keep your personal belongings organised. Messy spaces can annoy your roommates.

Don’t touch the other person’s food

Not everyone likes sharing their food. So please don’t assume that your roommate will share their food with you. Even if your roommate buys the same thing as you, you should buy your food. Your food is yours, and their food is theirs. Don’t even think of taking a single bite until you have your roommate’s permission. They could be saving it for a special occasion. If they say the food is off-limits, then leave it alone. Go out and get your own if you want some or order something.

Respect the need for quiet time

The other major factor to consider is noise. Keep the TV down, and make sure you’re not running around or talking on the phone when your roommate is trying to sleep. Don’t play your music too loudly because they might be studying for an important exam. Instead, use earbuds unless they’re happy to listen to your music as well.

 If you see your roommate reading a book, don’t disturb them with conversations. If you know that they need to be at work early the following day, keep the noise level low. A little “sleeping” sign that roommates can hang on their bedroom doorway is one way for roommates to let each other know when they’re sleeping.

Maintain good personal hygiene

Shower every day and clean the bath, shower recess, and bathroom after each use. Change your sheets and wash them once a week. Because nothing is worse or more unpleasant than living with someone who has poor hygiene or body odour! Don’t try to save water where you shouldn’t. Pick up the sachets or shampoo and hair after you wash your hair. Don’t leave your wet towel anywhere.

Be polite and try to have empathy with your roommate

At least as a courtesy, you have to be polite. If your roommate relationship evolves into friendship, you must make a concerted effort to understand your roommate. Are they sensitive individuals? Are they the talkative sort that expects you to tell them about your day at the beach? Are they the extroverted type with whom you can always hang out? You don’t want to try to converse with your roommate just to come off like a parrot. Or even try to crack a joke only to be labelled a fool. Try to understand your roommate’s personality and relate to them appropriately. Never, ever make assumptions. You can always respectfully ask if they can spare some time before engaging them in a chat, even if they say no.

Don’t be too sensitive

Being roommates does not imply that you must be best friends. Accept that your roommate has other friends they enjoy hanging out with. And they can set arrangements without including you. Furthermore, if you show a friendly attitude towards their other friends, you are more likely to be included. Most people despise someone who clings and suffocates them.

Solve problems as soon as possible

As soon as you identify an issue, notify your roommate that it is time to talk. Enter the discussion with your argument in a matter-of-fact manner, rather than hurling accusations or constantly attempting to correct them. Never use the silent treatment, passive-aggressive behaviour, or ranting to cope with a situation. The majority of issues can be resolved. However, if you can’t agree on something, you might want to consider splitting up.


When it comes to saving money or having a company, having a roommate can be a godsend. However, if you don’t have clear standards and respect each other’s living styles, it might make your life horrible. Remember to act the way you would want your roommate to act. And be empathetic of the person you’re sharing your space with.

 To know how an ideal roommate would act and what essential traits they should own, check out our blog: What to Look for in an Ideal Roommate.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful and productive day ahead.


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