Getting Along With Your Roommate(s)
Oh, college - the best of times and the worst of times (mostly best, though). One of the biggest adjustments is learning to live with someone. I went from having a room of my own to living with seven! other people. I truly love it, though. While never being alone can be a little overwhelming, It’s so nice to come home and always have someone to talk about my day with.
I cannot emphasize enough how lucky I am to have a roommate that I am so incredibly close with Shannon (the blonde pictured above) became my best friend in record time, and we know every little detail about each other. It’s funny how just by being around someone for so long, you pick up each other’s mannerisms and habits. I'm also very close with my suitemates. We are all there for each other, and it’s really like having a home away from home. After living with someone for so long, I’ve come to some conclusions about how we’ve been able to make it work so well:
1) Communicate. I cannot stress how important this is. If you don’t speak up, the other person is not going to be able to read your mind. I see this problem with so many roommates, and luckily it’s something my roommate and I have adhered to since day 1.
2) Be respectful. Given the diversity on campus (or anywhere, for that matter), you and your roommate(s) are going to have some conflicting views. Be mindful of one another, and be careful when it comes to kidding around. My roommate and I joke about everything, but it can be easy to offend people who take things more seriously.
3) Be considerate. It’s HIGHLY unlikely that you and your roommate are going to be on the same schedule, so keep that in mind when it comes to going to bed/waking up. My roommate and I are pretty good at being mindful when one person wants to go to bed early or sleep late. Just treat them the way you would want to be treated!
4) Be honest. I would say this goes along with #1, as well. Trust is really important in any relationship, not matter how close you are or are not. Lying just leads to tension, which is definitely not something you want in your living quarters.
5) Establish sharing rules. Again, I am so fortunate that my roommate and I legitimately share everything - no questions asked. It’s to the point where we don’t even ask to borrow each other’s clothes; we just know the answer will always be “yes”. Disclaimer: this is not the case for most roommates. Sharing is definitely a privilege, so be sure not to assume it is a right. I would just get it out of the way in the beginning, just so you don’t have to address it awkwardly, later on in the year.
6) Listen to each other. It’s easy to get distracted by phones and computer, but when your roommate is saying something of importance, listen to her/him. It shows that you care and are willing to take the time to understand that person.
7) Give each other space. I am an introverted extrovert (yes, that is a thing), which means that while I am very outgoing and love people, I need my alone time. I tend to get very irritable when I don’t get that time to myself, and my roommate is fully aware of this. She knows when to give me my space, and I really appreciate that about her.
8) Go out of your way for each other. Although this is not necessarily needed, it can really make living with another person so much more enjoyable. My roommate always goes out of her way for me - be it writing me a note, texting me the day of a test to wish me good luck, or making my bed for me. The smallest things really make the biggest difference. don’t forget to reciprocate!
9) Be mindful of your environment. When I’m in a rush, I definitely destroy my room - something I’m not very proud of. My roommate is completely understanding and has her moments too, but try and take note of if your roommate cares or not. Sometimes, it can be really offensive to someone if you destroy yours (and her/his!) room. This isn’t something you necessarily will address, but you can generally tell based on the routine they follow.
10) Ask questions. Get to know your roommate! You’re living with that person for the year, after all. Asking questions also shows that you care, which is something people really treasure.
While there are so many more things I could add to this list, I’ll leave it at this. The golden rule: be the roommate you would want to have. I hope this helps you!