For many, having a roommate is a great part of your college experience. It’s normal though to have some apprehension and face some challenges along the way. Follow these ten tips to maximize the potential for a healthy relationship (*Adapted from 10 Tips for Getting Along With Your College Roommate).
Set clear expectations early.
Let your roommate know as soon as you can about your little quirks and preferences. It’s not fair to expect him or her to pick up on them right away, and communicating what you need is one of the best ways to eliminate problems before they become problems.
Address things when they’re little.
Addressing things that bug you while they’re still little can help your roommate be aware of something she may not otherwise know.
Respect your roommate’s belongings.
This may seem simple, but it’s probably one of the biggest reasons why roommates experience conflict. Don’t borrow, use, or take anything without getting permission first.
Be mindful of who you bring into your room — and how often.
Connections with friends is extremely important to your success in college, but be mindful of how guests impact your roommate. Be considerate and ask before having people over. Respect your roommate’s wishes. Be mindful that you are responsible for your guests’ behavior the entire time they are in our residence hall communities.
Lock the door and windows.
This may seem like it has nothing to do with roommate relationships, but how would you feel if your roommate’s laptop got stolen during the ten seconds it took you to run down the hall? Or vice versa? Locking your door and windows is a critical part of keeping safe on campus.
Be friendly, without expecting to be best friends.
Not all roommates become best friends, despite what pop culture may tell you. That’s okay! It may happen, but expecting it sets both of you up for trouble. You should be friendly with your roommate but also make sure you have your own social circles.
Be open to and celebrate differences.
People who are different from one another can and do have healthy relationships! Be open to new ideas and experiences, especially as it relates to what your roommate brings into your life.
Be open to change.
You should expect to learn, grow, and change during your time at school. The same should happen to your roommate, if all goes well. As the semester progresses, realize things will change for both of you. Be comfortable addressing the unexpected, set new expectations when old ones aren’t working, and be flexible to your changing environment.
Address things when they’re big.
You may not have been totally honest with tip #2. Or you may suddenly find yourself sharing space with someone who goes wild after being shy and quiet the first two months. Either way, if something gets to be a big problem quickly, deal with it as soon as you can.
If nothing else, follow the Golden Rule.
Treat your roommate like you would like to be treated. No matter what your relationship is at the end of the year, you can take comfort knowing you acted like an adult and treated your roommate with respect.