Dorm life is a huge part of a person’s college experience—and a student’s relationship with their roommate can make or break it. While it’s important to make an effort to get along with your roommate, it’s also not a good idea to force your friendship. Here are some tips to make your first year with a roommate go smoothly.
- Get to Know Them Before Move-In
If you start communicating with your future roommate before college even starts, you’re guaranteed to make the move-in process go much more smoothly. With today’s technology, you can get to know your roommate even if they live hundreds of miles away. Connect with them on social media and get to know their interests. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about themselves, because they’ll want to know about you too. And if you live close to each other, you could even meet up over the summer!
- Be Respectful
Chances are, you’re not going to be identical to your roommate. You might have some similarities, but you’ll also probably have a lot of differences—which isn’t a bad thing, as long as you know how to handle them. Work with your roommate to find a balance—for example, if you like to study with music but your roommate prefers studying in silence, invest in a good pair of headphones! The more accommodating you are to them, the more likely they are to treat you with that same respect.
- Address Problems Maturely
If you do find yourself in a situation where your differences are negatively affecting your dorm experience, don’t be afraid to confront your roommate. However, if you want to discuss a problem with them, you should have a mature conversation. Don’t lash out on them or use passive aggressiveness—that will just cause the situation to escalate. If the problem continues after talking to your roommate, talk to your RA or another faculty member on campus.
4. Be Prepared to Share
Dorm rooms aren’t big, so it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your roommate before moving in to discuss who’s bringing what, and what items will be shared between the two of you. You won’t need two mini fridges and two microwaves (and you probably won’t have space for them either), so why not split the costs and have one of each that you can both share? Not only are you saving yourself money and space, but you’re also setting yourself up to interact with your roommate in a positive way.
5. Don’t Feel Pressured to Become Best Friends
Just because you’re living together, doesn’t mean you have to be each other’s best friend. You’ll both be meeting other people in classes, on campus, or in extracurricular activities, and you’ll probably develop different friend groups. If you do happen to become best friends, that’s great! If not—that’s totally fine too—just be friendly to each other, and your dorm experience will be a positive one! The less forced your friendship is, the more likely it is to work out in the end.