Especially if you don't have siblings you've had to live with and share a space with before coming to college, adjusting to having a roommate can be difficult. Even if you have siblings, it can still seem daunting to live with complete strangers in a new place. In today's post, I'll share some tips that I've used to bond with my roommates and handle living with people that you don't know. Let it be clear, you don't have to become best friends with your roommate. If it happens, great! If not, don't feel bad. At the minimum, you just need to be able to co-exist peacefully together and respect each others boundaries and requests.
Make an effort to hang out together
My roommates and I would often go to lunch or dinner together and just went to random events on campus together to try and bond more and get to know each other more. You obviously want to have days and times where you don't hang with each other because you need personal space and other friend groups, but try and get to know your roommate by hanging out outside the dorm room with them.
Be direct in asking about pet peeves
It may seem awkward trying to talk to your roommate about pet peeves, especially if you don't know them that well. However, being direct in asking about them and also sharing yours helps you prevent future conflict as you are now actually aware of what your roommate dislikes and vise versa. This can prevent an accidental upset or angry roommate situation later down the road.
Respect their study and sleeping times
One of my biggest things I emphasized to my roommate was to respect sleeping and study times. Especially if one roommate has early classes, you want to be sure to respect that and tone down the volume for them, or you would want them to do the same for you. Be sure to discuss compromises if you or your roommate like to watch tv or listen to music, but overall try to be courteous when it comes to focus time and sleeping. Good examples of things to consider are lights being on, music playing, or having people over while the other is trying to sleep or work.
Address problems quickly after they happen
Conflict will happen at some point just due to the fact that you are constantly around the same people every day. Some people hate addressing conflicts and being confrontational, but if you let problems fester and grow, you will have a much biggest problem and conflict coming for you and roommates later down the road. After you both calm down or you feel like it is an appropriate time to address an argument or conflict, speak with your roommate about what made you upset and what you would have liked to have been done instead.
Create a roommate agreement and actually follow it
Our CA had us make a roommate agreement day one and I think it's a great idea! Being honest, my roommate and I didn't follow it too well, which if we did we could have saved ourselves from future arguments we had during the semester. This agreement includes handling topics such as rules on having friends over, cleaning, sleeping time, and other policies you and your roommate want to set. Take it seriously, and don't be afraid to reference it later in the year if you need to address or change something.
Hopefully these tips will help you have a smooth year with your roommate. A lot of the issues that typically stem from roommates are common disagreements that aren't being addressed, or just the lack of taking the time to get to know each other and your habits. Don't be afraid to have honest conversations with your roommate so you both can have a successful year together!