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As the school year progresses and you really begin to get to know your roommates, it’s important to take a step back and make sure those guidelines you set up with your RA in the beginning of the year are still being followed.

It’s only natural to begin to feel comfortable with your roommates as time progresses. Suddenly it’s an unspoken rule that all the food in the room is up for grabs, unless there’s a note, a cute sweater in her closet is also a cute sweater in your closet, boyfriends and friends are always welcome and all the awkwardness goes away.

Although it’s a fantastic feeling to feel so comfortable with a bunch of people who were strangers such a short time ago, it’s also important to check-in and maybe re-work some of those initial guidelines you set aside — the last thing you want is to get to this comfort level and then end up fighting because of an avoidable issue.

Here are my guidelines for roommate etiquette — follow them and you’ll be in the clear.

Sit down with everyone and double-check that everything you’re doing is okay with all of them.

Whether it’s that you’ve started borrowing their shampoo on a daily basis or that you are constantly having people over, just make sure that everyone’s cool with it. Sometimes people will hold back from letting you know that they don’t like something for the fear of ruining your relationship. Sitting down and being open and honest is the easiest way to let your roommates know that you actually care and you don’t want to do anything that would set your relationships back.

Keep a running tab for all the money everyone owes each other.

You’ll find that there are many instances when you don’t have any bills smaller than a $20 and your roommates will spot you the amount you owed for that pizza you ordered at 2am or that soda you wanted from the vending machine. It’s easy to forget about returning this money, especially as more and more time passes by. Figure out a way to keep a tab of everything and make sure you aren’t jipping anyone of their $10 — every dollar adds up when you’re a broke college student! Personally, my roommates and I have a whiteboard on the back of our door dedicated to money matters and we just erase as we pay each other back.

Try to get a meal together at least once a week.

This one may seem a little weird for those of you who spend all your time with your roommates but more often than not, by this time of year, you have a lot more friends and you will feel inclined to eat with different people on a daily basis. Set aside one day of the week when you and your roommies are all available and have a nice family dinner so you can catch each other up on what’s going on and have something to bond through.

Respect each other’s bedtimes and class times.

By now, you have a pretty good idea of when everyone goes to sleep. Respect that. If one of you is an early sleeper, try to make the hours after that quiet ones (remember, you can always use headphones if you have to!). If someone has an early class the next morning, try not to stumble through the door at 3am and make tons of noise. Respect is such a huge contributor to the relationship people have with their roommates and showing it will almost immediately make your living situation 100 times better.

I hope these tips helped you all and gave you some ideas on how to approach somewhat of a “roommate check-in”. Remember that although your roomies don’t have to be your best friends, you are living with them for the remainder of the year and trust me, the relationship you have with them can really make or break your school year.

Good luck!

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