The Good Roommate’s Guide to Surviving Quarantine Without Killing Each Other
We’re all in this coronavirus quarantine together — some of us more than others. If you have a roommate, you’re likely still adjusting to sheltering in place with one other person all day (and night) long. Tensions are high. Annoyances are constant. Disagreements are inevitable. But you both have to get through this (or die trying). That’s why we created the good roommate’s guide to surviving quarantine without killing each other. Follow these simple steps to keep the peace and you and roommate will develop a renewed commitment to kick COVID-19’s ass together.
Cover Photo: Mango Productions (Getty Images)
Give each other space.
Just because you live together doesn't mean you have to interact 24/7. If need be, set up a schedule so each of you can have the common living space to yourself for a couple of hours a day. And don't be ashamed to take private time in your room when you need it. Too much togetherness is not a good thing.
But stay connected.
You and your roomie should still have some time together doing something you've always loved to do, whether that's a drinking game or a favorite show or a bizarre dance party. Don't let the bastard of coronavirus keep you down.
Keep up appearances.
Just because you're not going into public doesn't mean you can let yourself turn into a slob. Grooming is a courtesy to anyone who has to look at you, which in this case, means your roommate. Go about your usual routine, making sure to shave and style your hair just like you would if you had to go to work. By keeping the standards high, appearance-wise, you'll boost morale in your living space.
Take turns cooking.
If you order in three meals a day every day, you're going to burn through your government stimulus check too fast. Take turns cooking so that every other day includes some kind of culinary surprise. This is a great time to tap into your creativity and your competitiveness to see who can cook better meals.
Divvy up duties.
It takes two (and sometimes more) to make a household run smoothly. If you have designated duties, you won't have to argue about who should've taken out the trash last night. Cringey though it may be, now is the time for a chore chart. Divide up tasks and save yourself the resentment that comes when one person does all the tidying up.
Do a daily wipe-down.
Cleanliness is next to godliness these days -- and your home is teeming with germs. Protect your and your roommate's health by doing a daily wipe-down of your apartment. Focus on handles, doorknobs, light switches, toilet seats and anything else that you two touch constantly. It'd be great if your roommate would pitch in on this cleaning project, but if they won't, do it anyway. Your future (coronavirus-free) self will thank you.
Air freshener is your friend.
Hey, we're all stuck sharing the same bathroom. While you used to do your stinkiest business anonymously in the workplace bathroom, now you're dropping it in the same toilet your roommate has to use 10 minutes later. Air freshener is your friend (and, from what we've seen, is in ample supply at stores, unlike cleaning products). Please, use it liberally. We all have to breathe the same air.
We're all deprived of social contact right now and under unprecedented stress. When we need to unload, we will turn to whomever is closest. If your roommate needs to vent, just listen. A compassionate ear can do a lot for one's mental health, especially now, when therapy appointments are few and far between. Ideally, if you act as a kind listener for your roommate, they'll return the favor.
Don't sleep together.
The state of New York issued coronavirus sex guidelines suggesting that the safest person to sleep with is someone in your own home, but please, don't go there. If things sour (which they tend to do at some point after sex happens), you'll be stuck in the same living space with your ex-lover and that is guaranteed to make you go crazier than coronavirus ever did. Your hand is the only lover you need right now.
Let it go.
This is a tough time for everyone. Most of us have zero experience in quarantine and it's taking its toll on our relationships. Be patient with your roommate. Be quick to forgive. Remember that we're all doing the best we can under the circumstances. Rather than catalog your roommate's faults, focus on what you're grateful for -- like how you're both (hopefully) healthy and going to get through this alive.
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