We’ve all heard the horror stories about roommates who just didn’t work out. Whether it was passive aggressive notes left on the bathroom sink, loud arguments late into the night or just downright disrespectful behavior, it’s a given that not everyone who is paired to live together in a tiny dorm room will get along. However, this should not scare you. It should motivate you to try and do all you can to build a good relationship with your roommate. Here are some tips on how to facilitate a good relationship between you and your cohabitator.
1. Set a time to turn down the television.
If one roommate stays up later than the other, it’s imperative that you two have a talk about what’s going to happen when one needs to go to sleep. A good suggestion is to set a certain time that all external noises are turned down/off for the night, or ask your roommate if they’re OK with using headphones when you’re trying to sleep. If you need the lights off, a good compromise is to have your roommate use a desk lamp after a certain time if they need to have light. Sure, it won’t be totally dark, but roommates are all about compromise.
2. Keep each other updated.
You don’t have to be best friends, but a good idea is to meet for lunch or dinner every month or so to discuss things in the room. This is important because so much goes on in college, and it’s good to give your roommate a heads up if something is coming up that’s going to affect them. After all, you share the space, so it’s important to make sure that both of you are on the same page. If you do want to get to know your roommate, though, there are a lot of fun ways to bond and have fun together.
3. Give your roommate some time alone.
Whether we’re introverted, extroverted or in-between, we all need our space, and that can sometimes be difficult to find when you’re living with another person. Therefore, be considerate. If you know you’ve been spending a lot of time in the room recently, find a reason to go to the library and study, or have a meal when you know your roommate’s going to be in the room. This doesn’t mean you have to always be out, but it’s always good to allow your roommate a little time to have the room to themselves.
4. Think about what really matters.
A great way to avoid conflict is to simply not cause it. There are inevitably going to be things your roommate does that upset you, but if they’re little things, consider letting them slide. After all, we all make mistakes and an important way to get along with your roommate is to practice forgiveness. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should never speak up about things that bother you, but smaller things can sometimes be let go to avoid conflict.
5. Communicate your expectations.
Too many times, I told my roommate I was OK with her having guests when I really didn’t feel like having strangers in the room. And that was my fault. If you communicate clearly to your roommate what you want and don’t want to happen in the room, then they know. Roommates are not mind-readers, so it’s important to tell them your expectations.
Living with a roommate for the first time comes with challenges, but following these tips will help to ensure you’re doing all that you can to facilitate a good relationship between the two of you.
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