Everybody knows that living with a new roommate can be totally challenging. I was an RA of my dorm floor for three years, and I have seen many, many conflicts between roommates. I can tell you that most problems can actually be avoided very easily if you’re proactive with your roommate! All you need is to follow these four guidelines and your first year will go great!
1. Always Communicate If you aren’t open about your ideas, expectations, or issues, how can you expect your roommate to know about them? Trust me, it’s much easier to talk about your needs up front than to let them fester in your mind and end up becoming something more. Grab a piece of paper, a white board, whatever works for you and write out what you both expect with chores, quiet hours, sharing of your personal items, and anything else you can think of. It’s best to talk about it right away.
2. Make Balanced Compromises It’s impossible for two people to agree on every single detail while living together. Small disputes are bound to happen, and that’s okay. If you have a disagreement, just remember that there are two sides of the argument, and you might even both be right on different levels. It’s not good to just let your roommate win, and it’s definitely not good to always demand that your way is the only way. If your roommate wants the lights off at 11 and you want them off at 9, maybe settle for turning them off at 10. Just remember that you should probably meet in the middle, and your apartment will be that much more peaceful.
3. Respect Your Roommate The room belongs to both of you, so both of your opinions matter. Make sure that what you’re doing is okay with your roommate. A lot of girls like to borrow clothes. Ask first before you borrow something! If you want to have a significant other over for the night, make sure your roommate is okay with it. Try to keep things as clean as you can. Guys- don’t ever pee on the toilet seats! Not good! It’s all really simple if you you just keep their best interest in mind. Your roommate will show you respect if you show it to them first.
4. Be open to new experiences If you’re moving in with someone you have never met, chances are that they have a completely different set of interests than you. College is a great time to learn new things and discover new places. Play a new game. Try a new meal. If your roommate invites you somewhere and you’re not busy, just tag along for the ride! It will definitely help you learn about each other, and it will also help you get out of the apartment! After all, your fun nights out with friends are what college is about!
Keep these tips in mind when you move in with your first roommate this year, and everything will go smoothly! Avoiding conflicts with your roommate can be easy as long as you keep it positive and follow these four guidelines. Have a great year!
Our blogger, Benjamin Hawes, is studying marketing at San Francisco State University. He has spent each year of college in a different room or apartment, and loves to make each place feel like home. As an RA for university housing, Ben learned all about how to live with roommates, deal with conflict, and live in the present. In his spare time, he loves to go out to fun restaurants, watch comedy specials, and plan events with friends and family.