Living with a total stranger might seem intimidating at first, but you can beat the initial awkwardness by making an effort to get to know your roommate.
- Grab a coffee or snack together. If you end up sitting stiffly across from each other in your empty dorm room, walking and talking might be a more comfortable and casual setting for that first conversation.
- Don’t ignore your roommate! Say hello and goodbye when you enter and leave the room. Ask how their day went, invite them to grab a bite to eat, or introduce them to your friends.
- If you already have a friend on campus, invite both of your roommates to hang out with the two of you.
Don’t expect to be instant best friends.
- Focus on living compatibility. If you have a roommate who respects your sleeping schedule, cleanliness standards, and noise level tolerance, you’ve scored big time.
- It’s nice to make an effort to include your roommate in social activities, but it’s also okay to have different friend groups as long as you can be open, polite, and comfortable while living with each other.
- Remember, you’ve gone from not even knowing this person existed to living in a room with them. Allow your relationship to grow over time!
Set some boundaries and respect each other’s schedules, property, privacy, and personal space.
- Respect your roommate’s sleeping schedule. Try not to be noisy or disruptive when they are trying to sleep.
- Try not to be a slob! Keep your side of the room clean.
- Don’t wear their clothes or eat their food without permission. Not okay.
- Simply telling your roommate when you plan to invite friends over is not enough. Ask them if it is okay ahead of time, and don’t pressure them to say yes.
Communicate. Living with someone in close quarters is hard work, and you deserve to feel comfortable in your own living space. It is super important to be able to talk to your roommate about any problems you might be having.
- Don’t assume your roommate can read your mind! He or she might be completely unaware that he or she does something that bugs you. On that note, ask your roommate if you do anything that bothers them. You might be doing something annoying, too!
- The idea of confrontation might seem awkward and uncomfortable, but staying silent won’t solve any problems. Your stress and resentment might grow, and the tension will erode your relationship over time.
- Confrontation doesn’t have to be ugly – you don’t have to be overly critical or argumentative. Try to be calm, patient, honest, and prepared to compromise. Explain what’s bothering you, suggest a solution, and talk about it. Afterward, tell your roommate that you’re going to run out for a coffee, and offer to bring one back for them. It’ll give you both some space.
Be nice. Everyone gets stressed out and homesick at some point during the school year. You are the one person that your roommate will probably see every day – it’ll be nice if you can count on each other for support.