There are many ways to get stuck living with strangers. Maybe it was by choice! Perhaps you found a group via a roommate speed-dating event, or perhaps a realtor recruited you all to live together in the limited-time property he was showing. More likely than not, you’re filling a room in a multi bedroom apartment which one roommate left, but the others stayed behind.
Perhaps the other roommates are friends, or perhaps they are all strangers, but it can feel daunting to move into a place, where you’re sharing close quarters, with people you barely know. It feels, in fact, like your first day of college, but you’ve moved on from a dorm. Plus, without an RA to force you into ice breaking activities, it’s easy to feel a bit lost.
1. I recommend adding your new roomies on social media. Facebook is great because you can get a sense of someone’s interests, and also chat, and a quick “can I ask you a question about the mailbox?” can lead into a discussion of the movies you like and places you’ve been. Face-to-face contact isn’t always the easiest for our generation, but it’s easy to use technology to break the ice. Don’t overwhelm them with likes and stalking all their accounts, that can send the wrong message, but don’t hesitate to reach out for the original getting to know you phase.
2. Suggest that you all visit happy hour at a local bar one night, or hang out at home and order Chinese food. It’s hard to insert yourself into a group, especially if they’ve lived together for some time, and it’s often easier to live with roommates you’re not best friends with. That being said, you want some level of familiarity with your cohabiters. The get-together can be informal, but it’s also a good time to check in on apartment updates, like cleaning and bills, and doing it in a fun way is good for all.
3. Try and contribute to the group culture! Do something nice for the apartment like buying a communal blender, baking a batch of cookies, or perhaps splurging for a cleaning service to make your space nice and clean to start your lease off right. You’re not bribing your roommates to like you, but rather showing that you want to contribute to the community.
4. Invite them out! Going to a friend’s party, text an invite! Have free passes to a show for work? Reach out to a roomie. They may be busy or just not interested, but at least you made the effort, and showed that you’re wiling to get to know them outside the apartment, and the invites may be returned.
5. Be on your best behavior. This sounds silly, but being the ideal roommate will make things easier while breaking the ice. Clean your dishes promptly, remove hair from the drain and don’t play loud music at night. Even if this isn’t your go-to behavior, before you get to comfy with a week of cereal bowls piled on the counter, show how perfect you are as a roomie! Plus, even if you weren’t doing these things for other people, they’re good habits to keep, especially if you eventually live alone.
You may not interact with your roomies outside of the apartment, but it’s good to feel familiar with them for a better overall vibe at home!