Moving out of your parents’ house is one of the most highly anticipated events for any new college student, but it comes with a whole new challenge of living with roommates. While it would be amazing if you and your new roommate become best friends right away, it takes work to form trust and build a friendship.
It’s also possible that you may not find yourself totally psyched about your roommate, and that’s okay! Whether you become friends for life or just tolerate each other for a semester, here are 10 college roommate survival tips to help make life a little easier.
1. Set Some Ground Rules on the First Day
You may not want to be that roommate, but it’s much better to establish some dorm room rules when you first meet. This will stop feelings from getting in the way down the line, and you and your new roomie will be able to lay some important boundaries that can help one another feel more comfortable.
Some examples of college dorm roommate rules include not hitting the snooze on your alarm more than once, washing dishes immediately after you use them and putting all dirty clothes in the hamper.
2. Use Headphones Often
While you may discover you and your roommate love the same shows on Netflix, don’t force anyone else to watch your shows or listen to your Spotify playlists (unless they say so!) It’s great to hang out with your college roommates now and again, but keep in mind that your shared room is their personal space, too. Neither of you should be intrusive, and a pair of noise-canceling headphones goes a long way.
3. Ask Before You Have Company
Co-ed college dorms tend to have strict policies about who students can have in their rooms, and if you or your roommate want to invite some friends over, ask for permission first. If they say no, don’t hold a grudge, just schedule your hang-out elsewhere. Chances are that your friends will either invite you over to hang in their room instead, or you guys can find another cool hangout spot on campus.
4. Don’t Gossip About Them
Seriously, just don’t. Even if you’re talking to your best friend, don’t spill any personal details about your roommate to any outsiders. Unless they’re doing something that makes you seriously uncomfortable, violates you in any way or puts you in danger, respect their privacy.
5. Pay Attention to How You Live
Are you naturally disorganized? Maybe you like creative clutter, but it turns out that your roommate is ultra-clean. If that’s the case, you’ll have to compromise and make sure that your lifestyle preferences don’t interfere with theirs. Living with a roommate in college can make you more mindful of others and help you shake some bad habits to boot.
6. Communicate Everything
Don’t expect your roommate to “take a hint” under any circumstances. If they ask you a question, don’t say one thing if you mean another.
Being passive-aggressive gets no one anywhere, and it’s much easier to live happily together if you’re honest about any problems when they arise. Letting issues fester for too long only leads to angry outbursts and unnecessary drama later.
7. Understand What It Means to Compromise
Some people think that compromising means accepting whatever another person wants just to avoid conflict. Actually, compromise means finding a middle-ground that makes both people satisfied. Talk things out, be open about how you feel when you have a problem, and come up with a solution together.
8. Respect Their Differences
It’s highly possible that you could wind up with a roommate who shares a completely different worldview from you. Don’t let this scare you off; college is one of the only places you’ll ever be able to interact with so many different people. Embrace their uniqueness, accept your differences and understand that they’re entitled to live their life how they want to just as much as you are.
9. Don’t Take Their Things Without Permission
Although you may not think grabbing a pen off someone’s desk or eating a snack is a big deal, it can really make a roommate feel disrespected. Money doesn’t come easy for many college students, and living off student loans means most are on a tight budget. Always make sure you ask before sharing any items.
10. Accept Their Boundaries
You should try to connect with your roommate, but understand that some people prefer to keep to themselves. If you have an introverted roommate, it could be hard for them to share such a small space with someone else, so do what you can to respect their feelings, and try not to take someone’s aloofness too personally.
We hope these tips help you be a better college roommate! Keep in mind that every relationship has its ups and downs, but with open communication and transparency, you and your roommate can learn to get along and enjoy each other’s company.