Setting Ground Rules for Your Apartment
When you throw a couple college kids together in an apartment, you are bound to have a few tiffs every now and then. The best way to keep the peace is to set some ground rules at the start of the roommate relationship.
Ground rules, or rules of the house, should be mutually decided upon. One way to ensure mutiny in the apartment is when one person sets the rules that he or she expects everyone else to follow. By discussing the basic rules of the house as a team, you’re more likely to get agreement and buy-in on what goes and what doesn’t in your new home.
1. Quiet Hours. You are students, after all, and that means you’re going to need some quiet time to study. Unless you agree that all studying will be done outside the apartment, having some set quiet hours will help everyone out. Quiet hours might be similar to those you’d find in a dorm: between midnight and 6 a.m. every day, for example, or Sunday mornings until noon.
2. Visitors. Your roommates are sure to know people you don’t know, and vice versa. You’ll all be meeting new friends as the weeks go on. To keep the calm in your apartment, however, discuss with your roommates the “rules” for entertaining guests in the apartment. If one roommate wants “no guests during the week,” and another thinks it’s okay as long as they are out by 10 p.m., negotiations need to occur.
3. Hello Neighbor. There’s always at least one apartment in the complex that becomes the gathering spot for people looking for something to do. If you don’t want your apartment to be that spot, discourage it from the start. It’s hard to allow your next door neighbor in every night for TV that first week, then cut him or her off after that. Learn how to make requests of visiting neighbors without offending them. “Sam, would it be alright if I asked you to come back in a couple hours? I have a test to study for,” is better than, “Would you go away so I can study?!”
4. Know When It’s Okay to Break the Rules. If it’s your roommate’s birthday or you’ve just completed a huge final exam, a special celebration could be in order. If you’re going to stretch the quiet hours or break the “no visitors after 10” rule for a special occasion, just make sure your roommate knows it’s “just this once.” Communication goes a long way to keeping the peace in an apartment.