Sharing your space and the art of respectful cohabitation, by Mololuwa Olabode

Living with others, whether as a roommate or hosting someone, is a common experience. While it fosters connection and can be a great way to share costs, it also requires navigating shared spaces and respecting boundaries. Here’s how to ensure a harmonious co-living experience:

For the Host: Balancing Generosity and Boundaries

Living together means some privacy adjustments. Communicate openly about expectations. So,

  1. Acknowledge the Kindness: Remember, you’re opening your home – a big gesture. Communicate this openly to the person you’re accommodating, fostering appreciation.
  2. Set Expectations Early: Discuss house rules – duration of stay, noise levels, guest policies, cleaning and schedules – before they move in. This prevents misunderstandings and ensures everyone feels comfortable.
  3. Respect their Privacy: They may not have the same level of privacy they’re used to, and trust me, it bothers them. To make them comfortable, treat them like adults. You can start by avoiding entering their room unannounced, and knock before going in.

For the Guest: Being a Considerate Housemate

Finding a safe and affordable place to live can be challenging. When someone opens their home to you, remember it’s an act of generosity, not an obligation. Don’t take their kindness for granted. So,

  1. Show Gratitude: Express appreciation for the hospitality you’re receiving. Offer to help with chores, cook meals, or run errands to show you’re pulling your weight.
  2. Be Mindful of Space: This is their home; respect their belongings and common areas. Clean up after yourself, and don’t overstay your welcome.
  3. Communicate Openly: If something is bothering you, talk about it respectfully. Open communication is key to resolving issues peacefully.

Common Courtesies for Shared Living

  1. Respect Noise Levels: Be mindful of late-night activities or loud music, especially if your living space is thin-walled.
  2. Communicate about Guests: Discuss having guests beforehand, especially if overnight stays are involved.
  3. Be Tidy and Respectful of Shared Spaces: Clean up after yourself in the kitchen and bathroom. Contribute to keeping common areas clean and organized.
  4. Be Fiscally Responsible: If sharing bills, pay your share on time. Discuss food costs and grocery shopping arrangements. It is common courtesy!


  1. Flexibility is Key: Unexpected situations arise. Be willing to compromise and adjust when needed.
  2. Live and Let Live: Everyone has their quirks and habits. Be tolerant and understanding.
  3. Little Things Matter: A simple “thank you” or offering to help goes a long way.

Cohabitation can be a smooth and enriching experience. It will hone your emotional intelligence, people skills and will help you build stronger relationships; the circle that matches personality and goals (immediate or future)—just as much as it fosters a sense of mutual respect, making your shared space a true haven for everyone you allow in it.

I hope you find these tips helpful.



Comments (1)

  1. My roommate needs to read this because I sometimes wonder if her brain is aware of her actions. It’s tiring living with someone

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