Housemates are good for a lot of things, from saving on rent to helping with zips you can’t reach. But it’s not all easy: shared spaces, conflicting schedules, and different definitions of what “clean” means can make home-sweet-home anything but.
It doesn’t matter if your roomie is your best friend since childhood or a Gumtree random; at some point, you’re going to have to deal with one of these all-too-common housemate disputes. It can feel uncomfortable to tackle things head-on, but more often than not, being up-front is the best solution. Plus, having these conversations now can be good practice for moving in with an S.O. down the road (or so my married editor promises me). While I have yet to bunk up with a boyfriend, I’ve certainly had my share of roommates: 24 in just under 10 years. And I’ve navigated every issue and fight out there, with varying levels of grace.
To learn from my mistakes (and do better in the future), I spoke with Lizzie Post, great-great granddaughter of Emily Post and host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast, to get her advice on dealing with cohabitation problems productively. Spoiler alert: A lot of it comes down to what Post calls the three C's: communication, compromise, and commitment.