Live with a complete stranger for nine months? Welcome to dorm life! The following tips can help you adjust to life with your new roommate.
1. Call, Don't Just Click
Once you've been assigned your roommate, it's fine to look them up on Facebook or Twitter. But don't let social media be your only forms of contact before move-in day. It's easy to misjudge people based solely on their online presence. Instead, give your new roomie a call. You can introduce yourself and discover common interests. Plus, it's a great way to figure out who's bringing the TV and who has the better coffee maker.
2. Talk About Problems
Roommates will occasionally disagree or get on each other's nerves. Pet peeves, personality differences, and personal habits can cause issues. If you keep quiet about the things that bother you, then your roommate will probably have no clue you're annoyed. And if you aren't straightforward, how can the situation improve? Be kind and tactful, but do speak up. If you have a serious issue that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to get assistance from your resident advisor (RA).
3. Choose Your Battles
On the other hand, if you grumble about every little incident, your roommate will quickly learn to tune you out. So it's important to make a genuine effort to be forgiving and flexible. Before you complain, ask yourself if the matter truly demands attention, or if it's something you can learn to live with.
It's okay for each of you to have a short list of nonnegotiables. However, compromise should be the norm, not the exception. A steady give-and-take between you and your roommate will help ease any tensions that arise. Plus, it's helpful to remember that compromise doesn't have to mean sacrifice. Instead, negotiate with each other to create a living arrangement that you're both comfortable with.
5. Make Other Friends
Just because you live with someone, that doesn't mean you're going to end up being BFFs. In fact, campus housing officials say that rarely happens. Branch out and develop your own social circles. And for those times when you're feeling some roommate tension, you'll need reliable, patient friends who can listen to your frustrations, offer advice, and divert your attention.
6. Get Some Distance
Even if you and your roommate are good friends, it's healthy to spend some time apart. Eating meals separately, participating in different extracurricular activities, and attending different study groups are ways to make sure you get your own space.
7. Remember the golden rule
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As overused as this saying might seem, respect and courtesy will go a long way toward creating a harmonious living arrangement. Don't hit the snooze button seven times each morning if your roomie's still asleep. During study times, wear headphones instead of blaring your music. If you're sick, try not to infect your roommatego to the health center for medicine and wash your hands frequently.
If you're struggling to get along with your roommate, pray for God to change your attitude and give you wisdom. And pray for your roommate's needs as well. At first your prayers may be nothing but an act of willpower, but keep at it. God will bless your efforts. You can even begin praying for your roommate before you arrive on campus.
9. Keep Your Sense of Humor
In any college living situation, crazy things happen. You're setting yourself up for a rough year if you let every little incident get to you. So try to let matters roll off your back instead of dwelling on them, and be sure to laugh off the little things. Remember, events that seem like a big deal now will make great stories later.
For more tips, see Getting Along with Your Roommate and How to Avoid Roommate Disasters.