Whether you’re best buds or distant acquaintances, there’s no doubt about it: it can be tough living in the same quarters as another person. Depending on who it is, living with a roommate can garner blessings, inside jokes, and a whole host of awesome memories—or it can create friction, arguments, and an array of passive aggressive exchanges.

2016-11-04_1527 So how can you keep the good times rollin’ and have a Christ-like attitude toward those who share your space? Essentially, it starts with you. Instead of worrying about what the other person is doing—although there is a proper place and time to address that in certain circumstances—focus on what you can change and pursue first. Here are a few tips on how you can be the best roommate around.

5 tips on how to be a good roommate

1. Do your share.

No matter who you live with—a family, a spouse, a friend, or a roommate—it’s generally an expectation that you’ll do your share to keep the space clean and livable. All spaces come with a certain set of responsibilities, so set up a time to have an intentional conversation with your roommate about who will do what.

It’s important to get all expectations out on the table about tasks and how each will be done right at the beginning, and there may be some preferences you have to compromise on. While some people leave nary a soiled spoon in the sink, others don’t mind leaving dishes piled high for days. Figure out what works best for both of you, and make sure you do your share of the chores in a timely fashion.

 2. Communicate often and directly.

Passive-aggressive notes, hostile sighs, and gossip can cause your relationship with your roommate to quickly deteriorate. Instead of trying to hint at whatever is bothering you, it’s important to communicate directly about what’s going on. Don’t resort to texting or Facebook messaging either—an in-person conversation while help alleviate any miscommunication.

Fights usually begin when someone misunderstands the expectations of another. Make sure you’re communicating clearly on a regularly basis, and setting a time for bi-weekly or monthly roomie meetings is a great place to start.

3. When in doubt, ask.

It can be easy to assume that because you live together, you share everything. However, even if you’ve been best friends since you were babies, and it seems like borrowing each other’s clothes, video games, makeup, etc. is an unspoken allowance, it’s still polite to at least let the other person know you’re using their item.

4. Mend the wounds.

If you’ve been carrying bitterness toward your roommate around for a long time, it’s time to connect with him or her. Resisting forgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die—it only hurts you in the end.

Jesus calls us to forgive seventy times seven. So whether you need to have an honest conversation with your roomie and apologize for your part or you need to give up some long-seated irritation with his or her habits, don’t delay. Mend the wounds, and move on with your relationship.

5. Get out and have some fun.

The best way to connect with your roommate is to get out and do something fun…outside of your dorm room. Planning some roommate-only hangout time will give you the chance to strengthen your connection and get to know each other as friends, so you’re not just living with a stranger. Of course, not all roommates are interested in being close friends, and that’s okay too! Just make sure to take advantage of those moments that can make living with another fun and lighthearted: laugh at a funny online video together, invite your roommate to sit in on a movie you’re watching, or send an encouraging text if he or she is having a hard day.

Extending a bit of kindness and gentleness can go a long way in crafting a God-honoring relationship with your roommate.