For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2017 07 27 at 10.40.51 am
Jul 27 2017
by Madeleine Smith

8 Discussions to Have With Your Roommate Before You Even Move In

By Madeleine Smith - Jul 27 2017
For many of us, living in such close quarters with another person who we don’t know is going to be a major lifestyle change. We all want our first year to go by smoothly, which means avoiding conflict with your roomie. To do that it is really important your discuss your living situation with your roommate before even moving in. Every pair of roommates is different and the better you know your roommate’s preferences and boundaries early on, the less likely you are to accidentally upset them early on, or vice versa. Now is the time, as many people are getting their living assignments, to get to know your roommate and have these eight important conversations so that you can prevent conflict and make your year together the best it can be. 

1. How much mess can you handle?

When you have your own room, you are free to be as messy or as clean as you’d like. You may be comfortable with clutter, but your roommate might be a bit of a clean freak. This is a conversation you must have because you’re going to need to set boundaries when it comes to your living space and stick to the rules you’ve set together. If you agree that you both are going to keep the floor clean, then don’t leave clothes on the floor. It is super important you respect that your roommate has the right to a clean-ish room if they want one, or that they have the right to an unorganized desk if it’s on their side of the room. And if both of you are very clean or very messy, then that’s awesome, but at least now you know that about each other. 

2. Early bird or night owl?

Everyone’s sleeping habits are different: some people stay up really late and can function on three or four hours of sleep and some coffee, while others go to bed early and get up as the sun rises. Some people have a pretty normal sleep schedule during the week and like to sleep in on the weekends. It is important you talk about your schedules so that if they conflict, you can come up with a way that you don’t interrupt each other’s sleep. Other good things to talk about involving sleep are whether either of you snores, if you like the room completely dark or completely silent, what temperature is most comfortable for both of you and even what you wear to bed. Learning these things now before your first night together will really help you settle into a comfortable routine suitable for both parties. 

3. Can you have friends in the room?

Sharing a living space with one person is one thing, but sharing a living space with that person and all their friends is another. Don’t assume that your roommate is going to be cool with having your buddies in the room at all hours. Yes, some people are very social and are going to be fine with having your friends over, and they might even actively try and make your friends their friends, however, there are people that expect peace and quiet in their room who don’t want other people around their belongings. Some might be okay with people in the room if they aren’t studying. Some might be cool with people in the room but not be okay with anyone spending the night. Talking about it now prevents a fight over it in the future.

4. Can you bring your significant other to the room?

I get it, privacy with your significant other is difficult when you both live in a dorm with a roommate, but you need to think of the other person living in that room. If they say they aren’t okay with you using the room for a bit, then you need to respect that. This talk is insanely important to have because it really helps to keep the peace between you two and keep your roommate from walking in on something they really didn’t want to see. You need to set boundaries now and be open with what you are and aren’t comfortable happening in your room. Can they sleep over? Can they use the room if you are in class? Are you cool with being displaced randomly if your roommate uses the room? All of these are important to ask yourself and your roommate.

5. Music: speakers or headphones?

Music, of course, is a fun thing to talk about when you are first getting to know your roommate. What genres you like? What artists are your fave? What do you not like to listen to? That’s all great, but you also need to talk about what times you can play music in the room, if at all. Some people can study with music on, even prefer it, however, others might not be able to concentrate. Some might be okay with blasting certain genres but not others. Again, everyone is different, which is why you should talk about these things early on. 

6. Will you share your stuff?

We are all taught at a young age that sharing is caring, but everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to sharing their things. Some might be okay with sharing books or school supplies but not clothes. Some might be okay with you taking their things without asking while other wont share unless you ask and some might not be okay with sharing at all. You need to have this discussion before you even move in because, as I’ve said like five other times, setting those boundaries now will ensure your year runs smoothly.

7. Who is bringing what?

This one is less about preventing conflict and more about saving space. There are certain things that you really don’t need two of in one room. For example, do you really need two ironing boards and irons? Are two full length mirrors really necessary? What about two mini fridges? Coffee makers? Vacuums? I think I’ve made my point. Some of you may think it would be good to have two irons. Some of you might split up the list so that one roommate brings the coffeemaker and the other brings the mini fridge. Some are more comfortable with sharing than others. Dorm room sizes vary as well, meaning you may not have room for two of everything. It all depends on your situation which is why this discussion is super important to have before either of you spends money on something you don’t need. 

8. What are your eating habits?

Not only do you need to talk about sharing food, but you should also discuss eating habits. Your roommate might be a vegetarian or vegan and they might not be okay with having meat in the room. Food allergies are also important to discuss because you don’t want to accidentally bring something into the room that could actually be life-threatening. Ask your roommate about their eating habits now before you even bring food into the room.

I’ve stressed how important these conversations to having an awesome dorm experience your freshman year, but I want to really emphasize two more things. When having these talks with your roomie, remember to be open to compromise so that both of you are at least somewhat happy with the situation. And secondly, if you are uncomfortable with something, don’t keep it to yourself: say something now, don’t keep it to yourself because you want to get along. It is good to talk about it now before you end up screaming about it later. Some of these discussions might be uncomfortable, but again, it's better to get it out now so you can move on to becoming friends and having an awesome time living together!

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Madeleine Smith - Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Madeleine Smith is a freshman in the Honor's College at Rutgers University- New Brunswick. She's double majoring in journalism and political science and in her free time she loves playing soccer, journaling, reading, and hanging out with friends!

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