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Communicating Effectively with Your Housemate

The more you and your housemate communicate about your preferences, needs and expectations, the easier it will be to navigate disagreements when they arise (and they naturally will). While none of us is perfect, the good news is that humans are wired to find compassion for one another. Open communication allows this compassion to flourish.


In this article:


Tips for good housemate communication

Here are some simple guidelines for maintaining open communication with your housemate.


Agree to prioritize communicating openly.

Acknowledge to each other that while some conversations will be uncomfortable, they are worth having to preserve peace in your shared home.


Be curious about each other’s needs.

Gathering information doesn’t hurt—it doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside-down to accommodate someone else.


Share leadership and responsibilities.

A sure way to create resentment or frustration is not to carry your own weight in the household. If you need help, ask for it—but don’t assume your housemate will take care of chores and decisions.


Normalize disagreement.

Disagreement doesn’t necessarily mean conflict! It’s normal if you and your housemate don’t agree on everything. Just be open to discussing your preferences and coming to a solution that works for you both.


Put it in writing.

Make your house rules and expectations part of your homesharing agreement so you have a source of truth to refer to when boundaries come into question.


Check in.

Touch base with your housemate regularly about how your homesharing arrangement is going and if your shared agreements need any adjusting or negotiation. Making feedback a household norm will help keep balance.


Be kind.

That’s it.


Additional resources

  • Preventing conflict: Common causes of conflict, topics to discuss to prevent it and more.
  • House rules: Why to establish them, what they should cover, common examples of house rules and more.
  • Homesharing agreements: What they are, why to sign one, how they protect you and more.
  • Resolving conflict: Tips for communicating during a conflict and what to do if you can’t resolve your conflict.