Roommates: Whether you’re approaching your freshman or sophomore year, it’s time to think about roommates. What are your deal breakers and what have you learned? Here’s some advice on how to have a positive roommate experience:
The key to a successful relationship with your roommate is communication.
- No one can read your mind, so communicate your wants and needs. Even if you think it is obvious that you would like all the lights to be off when you fall asleep, you can’t assume that your roommate knows that. Before you move in together or when you first meet, ask about his or her study habits, sleeping habits, whether they consider themselves a neat freak, etc. This way you understand how to be a respectful roommate. Passive aggressive hints are counterproductive so be open and honest about your pet peeves and deal breakers.
- Some communication tips: use “I feel” so that statements do not come across as attacks or accusations. Also, stay away from definitive words such as “always” and “never.” For example, “you never take out the trash, its rude,” is an accusation. Whereas, “I feel like I take out the trash a lot, can you grab it this time?” is a more respectful request.
It’s all about compromise.
- It is impossible for two people to completely agree on everything, especially when you’re stuck together in what seems to be a 2 by 2 cement box. Maybe you need to use your headphones instead of blaring music out loud. Maybe you need to kindly ask your roommate to talk on the phone in the longue while you are trying to sleep. Equal negations are key.
Have realistic expectation.
- Let’s face it: even if your roommate is the perfect match, you may get on each other’s nerves. It is important to accept this fact or else things may snowball. If you are feeling frustrated about something, try to approach the issue and stay resolution focused. Some people may expect to be best friends with their roommate and that may not always happen. Regardless of whether you end up as BFFs or not, it is important to be a courteous living partner.
It takes effort
- Living harmoniously with someone takes effort. Even married couples in the honeymoon stage struggle with it. We are all creatures of habit so be conscious of your habits and how they may affect a living partner. Communicate, compromise and have realistic expectations! Read chapter 3 of The Freshman Survival Guide for expert advise on navigating the roommate journey.