In most cities, where living space is often cramped, you'll be tripping over your roommates whenever you're not asleep or out.
You won't always see eye to eye and, sometimes, you'll end up arguing. You still have to live together though, even if it's only while you find somewhere else to live.
Here's a quick guide to avoiding arguments before they happen and dealing with them when they do.
3 main reasons roommates argue
The three main areas for disagreement are space, noise and money, so it pays to discuss these things in advance and work out if you can really live together.
You may have very little space to call your own in a shared apartment. Respecting other people's space is therefore key to getting along with your roommates. Don't go into your roommate's room without asking and be considerate and respectful in shared areas. Don't take up more space than you're entitled to - if there are three shelves in the refrigerator and three people sharing the apartment then the math is pretty simple!
Where you're sharing space you'll also have to come to an agreement over how clean you intend to keep your living areas, kitchen, bathroom etc. If you can't agree between you on how often to vacuum and whose responsibility it is to take out the trash, maybe you shouldn't be living together (or maybe you just need to hire a cleaner!)
Another major reason why roommates fall out with each other is noise. Check each other's schedules and try to work around them. If your roommate needs to get up early they won't appreciate you having the TV turned way up loud into the early hours. And if you're up early on a weekend, full of energy from your jog, your snoozing roommate might not appreciate it if you decide to start vacuuming the apartment - however much it needed it.
We're not saying you need to be super quiet every minute of the day, but do think before crashing around and waking up your roommates.
Everything else seems to boil down to money. Not dealing with money issues before they escalate causes major headaches between roommates, so it's best to let people know if you've got a problem paying your share of the utilities or rent. If you can, pay up promptly - it's uncomfortable for your roommates to keep reminding you to hand over the cash you owe them.
Communication is key
Most problems you'll run into when sharing with people can be avoided by communicating. If someone's annoying you by cranking up the volume, failing to do their share of the chores or not paying their bills then it's always best to bring it up before you reach boiling point. Sit down for a coffee and talk through things calmly rather than wait till the last minute and lose your temper. As soon as you start shouting or swearing at someone you've lost all hope of resolving whatever the original problem was.
Best of luck
If you really can't get on with your roommate then it might be time to start checking the list of rooms to rent advertised on SpareRoom.