In an ideal world, your college roommate is your best friend. The two of you have similar interests, study habits and sleep schedules. You share your clothes, coordinate the furniture and decorate the rooms together. You invite mutual friends over for movie marathon nights and unforgettable parties.
Unfortunately, real life doesn’t always work that way. It’s much more likely that you and your roommate have many differences, some of which may cause long-term problems.
You don’t need to be lifelong friends with your roommate, but you also don’t want next semester to start off with squabbling, or, worse, complete silence. By now, you’ve probably found a roommate for next year. Whether you’re confident or apprehensive about living together, It’s in everybody’s best interest to work on building a good relationship. The Clog has compiled a list of tips that will hopefully help you get along with your roommate.
1. Be accepting of his or her habits. You and your roommate probably come from different backgrounds — perhaps even different countries. Everyone has some quirky habits, not to mention religious and cultural lifestyles. Don’t freak out when your roommate does something you perceive as strange. After all, isn’t college all about trying new things?
2. Cooperate in buying and sharing things. You can save a ton of time and money if you and your roommate communicate effectively before buying dorm or apartment necessities. You will also reduce waste — for example, two people can easily finish a gallon of milk whereas one person may end up throwing away half of it.
3. Be nice, and show generosity. Even if you are a stingy person, try to warm up to your roommate through small acts of kindness. Let him or her eat your Ben & Jerry’s or borrow your coffeemaker. Good roommates will naturally reciprocate with generous acts of their own.
4. Nevertheless, talk to each other about when you need to ask for permission. If you and your roommate are not close friends, first have a discussion about what you can and can’t share. Some roommates won’t mind if you wear their clothes or use their shampoo without asking, but other roommates might.
5. Understand his or her routine. Your roommate may be a messy person or a neat freak. He or she may go to bed at 9 p.m. or 5 a.m. As a result, you may find your own schedule or lifestyle changing. If you aren’t used to the change, try to reach a compromise. At the very least, try to talk it through with your roommate.
6. Be friendly to your roommate’s friends. Even if you’re not besties with your roomie, you’ll frequently cross paths with his or her social circle. Having a roommate with a different friend group means you automatically get to meet new friends and acquaintances.
7. Try to spend quality time with your roommate every week, even if it’s only having lunch or cleaning the room together. Being comfortable with talking to each other makes it less awkward when you have disagreements.
8. Be honest if you have an issue you need to bring up. Let your roommate know what’s annoying you. Never bottle up your frustration and anger! It isn’t fair to your roommate if you don’t speak up and expect him or her to empathize with you right away. It’s not the easy way out, but being honest and open about your feelings will solve most problems.
Contact Tiffany Gong at [email protected].