When I was in college, I had a wonderful roommate named Rylie. Rylie and I got along swimmingly, she was funny, sarcastic, and overall a great roommate. However, when we first moved into our teeny-tiny dorm inside our sorority, I quickly found that she and I had a few differences in how we went about our day-to-day lives. Rylie was a night owl and a late riser, while I was in bed by 10 and up by 6. I kept soda and craft supplies in my ottoman while Rylie’s contained a jar of Nutella and a spoon. Her wonderful quirks made her who she was and though we were different, our time rooming in Nu is one of my fondest college memories.
If you’re getting to know a new roommate or jumping into living with one for the first time, here are my tips for learning to live with your roommate’s quirks:
Communicate your likes and dislikes early and clearly
First of all, you and your roommate need open lines of communication. If something your roommate does bothers you, speak up! Your roommate is most likely not a mind reader, and therefore most likely won’t know they are doing anything to bother you. It can be awkward at first, especially with a new roommate, but they should appreciate your honesty and feel comfortable to speak up themselves. Having open, healthy discussions about what you do and don’t like is paramount for a great roomie relationship.
Do unto others…
Second, do your best to be a good roommate in return! It goes without saying that not everyone is a health nut, night owl, or super duper into cleaning, so when you start to pick up on your roommate’s lifestyle, do your best to ensure your activities don’t directly conflict with theirs. For example, I myself live with a lovely roommate who likes everything tidy and in its place. Though this makes our apartment nice and clean, I am more of a creative chaos type that likes a little clutter. My room will always reflect my chaotic tendencies, but I realize how important a clean home is to my roommate, and do my best to keep our common areas clean and clutter-free.
Celebrate your differences
Third, realize that you and your roommate are going to have differences. One of the best things about roommates is that you will never get the same one twice, and the differences between these individuals will shape your experiences living with others. You and your roommate’s unique life experiences will introduce each other to new ideas, activities, and ways of thinking. If approached with an open mind and a dose of curiosity, your differences can greatly enrich your roommate experience.
Finally, don’t take things too seriously and take the time to make your roommate your friend. The wonderful, terrible thing about roommates and apartments is that they are most often temporary. You may live with these people for one semester or many years, either way there are lessons to be learned and fun to be had. Try not to sweat the small stuff, because one day you will be looking back on the memories of your house mates with joy and (hopefully!) fondness for the time you spent together.