Ottawa apartment life can be great as you establish your independence and start to make your way in the world. However, a bad roommate can turn the whole situation upside-down, which is why it’s so important to have good communication patterns early on. These tips should make it easier to keep the peace with your roommates so that you can all enjoy happy and stress-free apartment life:

Get to Know Each Other
If you are related to your roommate or are already best friends, you can skip this step. However, if you and your roommate were acquaintances or strangers before moving in together, taking the time to learn about each other can really break the ice. Sometimes the first step to respect is building familiarity. Ask each other about your favourite movies, favourite foods and how you like to spend free time. Not only can you create a bond, but you’re opening the lines of communication for the future as well.

Oftentimes, troublesome problems with roommates only occur because you don’t communicate. What starts as a slight annoyance about the toilet seat being left up ends in a huge argument a couple of months later. Be open and honest about things that matter to you. To keep the peace with your roommates, you need to resolve any conflict early on before emotions fester and little problems become huge arguments. Don’t pretend certain habits don’t bother you just to seem agreeable. Be honest and respectfully communicate your views. You will strengthen your relationship as a result.

Define Neatness Standards
Ideally, you should define your standards for cleanliness and neatness before you ever move in together. Don’t just talk in vague terms like “I like to be tidy” or “I’m a little bit messy.” Be very clear about expectations from the outset. If you each have a task that you absolutely hate, the other can do it. Come to an understanding if both of you hate cleaning the bathroom – someone has to do it. Perhaps you rotate chores or one bathroom clean is equal to three vacuuming sessions.

Noise & Visitors
Next to struggles over chores and cleanliness, issues with noise levels and visitor frequency cause the most arguments among roommates. Above all, you should both tackle every issue with the aim of respecting the wishes of the other. You may want to have some friends over, but if your roommate has to be up for work at 5:30 AM, perhaps someone else can host the get together. If you extend respect, you’re more likely to get the same treatment in return.

You can have a smooth sailing roommate situation in your Ottawa apartment with these tips for keeping the peace with roommates.