By | June 30, 2013
Anybody who has ever had roommates can tell you that it is not always easy. Whenever you are living with people that you may not know well, conflicts are bound to arise. There will be conflicts that have to do with clashing personality types, lifestyles, and personal habits, splitting the bills, cleaning, the use of common space, and other issues.
How then, does one manage to get along with roommates, making life easier for everybody? It is possible, and the friendship contract template is perhaps your best answer. Arguments are inevitable when you have roommates so have a plan in place ahead of time to deal with it and that is where the friendship contract template comes in.
The Friendship Contract Template / Roommate Agreement Template
This is a simple way to head off roommate conflicts before they start. Granted, when you move in with roommates, you are most likely not friends with them. However, given that you are going to be living together, you need to consider each other as friends, hence, the friendship contract template.
Having a plan in place to get along with your roommates is smart. Your agreement contract can be constantly evolving, and it is for everybody’s benefit, not just yours. It is a concept that might be new, but once explained, the others should be on board because it is a great tool to manage conflicts!
Your roommate contract template will allow you and your roommates to set ground rules that you must all follow. You will all need to sign the contract and anytime something is amended, you will all need to either sign again or initial the changes.
Essentially, your friendship contract breaks down what is expected of each of you. Cover all of the main areas where conflict might arise; the sections that follow this one will give you some ideas of what you might need to cover. As you begin living together, you will be able to amend your contract to cover specific areas that you need to. You cannot anticipate exactly how you will, or will not, get along without living together first.
When problems arise, if it is something handled in the contract, then just remind them that it was something they agreed to. Stop fights before they get out of control! If it is something that is not in the friendship agreement contract, then sit down and work out how it needs to be added and what can be done to prevent this fight from happening again in the future.
The rules of the friendship agreement contract are up to you and your roommates. Some people choose to have “punishments” for those who break the terms of the contract. Such as treating everybody to pizza, or getting dish duty for a few days. That is something that needs to be worked out between you all, just remember, you are not exempt either!
The terms of the contract can be anything, but you have to have terms and consequences for breaking the rules. In life, if you break a rule, you have to face the music. Same with roommates, you cannot just have one that thinks they are the exception; which is why you all draft this together, and you all stick to it. No matter what the terms are, you all stick to them, consequences, and all.
This is something that you cannot really ask people to change. What you can do is put in a clause about being tolerant of each other. Just because you are outgoing, your roommates may not be. A laid-back roommate and a stricter roommate can get along very easily, with the roommate agreement contract template; it will help prevent personality clashes from turning into big fights.
Lifestyles & Personal Habits
One of you is messy and the other neat. Using your friendship contract template will help this common cause of roommate fighting as well. You can cover things such as having guests over, noise at night, borrowing stuff without asking and other issues using your contract.
If everybody gives a little bit and compromises, then you can make your roommate situation conflict free. If a conflict does arise, you will have your contract to fall back upon to help you resolve it, quickly and with no long-drawn issues.
Common issues tend to arise when it comes to the common spaces, such the kitchen, living room, and bathrooms. When one person tends to take longer than others in a bathroom, it can be stressful, especially if more than one of you are trying to get ready for work. Keeping common areas clean should also be addressed in the contract.
The goal is to work out the rules before issues come up and have a way of handling them already in place. This makes conflict resolution easy and quick, the terms are already set, and the party who broke the terms will already know what their consequences are.
The rent is easy, divide by the number of roommates and there you go. However, utility bills are a tougher nut to crack. If you have one roommate that constantly has on their TV and a laptop all the time while the others rarely do, it is not fair to split the electricity three ways.
If you have somebody who is using more than their fair share of the utilities, then work something out and put it in the template. Either they agree to pay more than just an even split or they agree to curb their electricity use.
When it comes to water and gas, the best way is to all agree to limit showers to fewer than ten minutes. When you all agree to limit your shower times, it means that there will be few reasons why you need to argue about that bill.
Another big conflict issue because nobody likes to clean and nobody likes to constantly clean up after others. Ensure that the rules for keeping common areas are clearly noted in your friendship contract agreement as well as the consequences for somebody who fails to keep their end of the bargain.
Now you have an idea of why roommates fight and how to script your friendship contract template. When you do not have that contract in place, you have no clearly defined way or means of handling conflict. Small conflicts can turn into larger ones very quickly, so use your friendship contract template as a way to make sure that you and your roommates get along and everybody stays content.