Living with a roommate creates a whole new list of etiquette rules that you’ve never thought about, especially if you’re moving into your first house or apartment. You have to discuss chores, finances, and navigate personality differences all while working around one another’s schedule. If you’ve got a lucky fellow or lady, you should also follow dating etiquette rules. Let’s find out exactly what that means.

Discuss Issues Before They Arise

The most critical key to a successful roommate relationship is the key to most relationships—proper communication. When you or your roommate start dating, you should discuss a few ground rules. 

For example, you should give your roommate a heads up if you’re bringing a new date home, and let them know whether they’re potentially staying the night. This gives your roommate an opportunity to make other plans or at the least put off cooking that potent Indian dish until another night.

Keep your Roommate’s Feelings in Mind

While I’m sure your roommate loves to watch you snuggle with your significant other while watching The Notebook for the 3rd time, try not to make them seem out of place in their own home.  Don’t hog all of your apartment’s common spaces, and try to include your roommate on occasion. 

For instance, if you’re watching a movie, ask them to have a seat and enjoy it with you. If you’re the roommate, don’t be afraid to come and join the group. If they want privacy, they can retire to their room.

Be Respectful of Shared Spaces

This applies to more than just living areas. If you’re in a relationship and your significant other starts spending significant time at your place, make sure that they’re cleaning up their dishes and kitchen space if they’re cooking. The same goes for the bathroom and the shower. No one wants to see a sink full of hair from your boyfriend’s early-morning shaves, so make sure they treat your home with respect.

If they’re using your facilities that often, you may want to offer for them to pitch in on bills so that your roommate isn’t effectively paying for them to live in your upscale apartment for free. 

Keep Communication Avenues Open

Talking out issues, having house meetings, and being direct are the best ways to communicate with your roommate, dating or not. Don’t leave a note in the bathroom that says “clean your damn mess.” Discuss things fairly, try to consider everyone’s point of view, and don’t be passive aggressive.