Of course, you are excited at the prospects of starting college, even though there is some uncertainty attached. Firstly, you are curious about who your new roommate will be and what they are like. It can feel daunting to move in with a complete stranger, particularly if you have never lived with anyone other than family.
Commit to a positive attitude and discover a variety of coping strategies below. Ideally, you want to enjoy living with your roommate and who knows...you just may end up being lifelong friends.
Reach Out Ahead of Moving in Together
Make a point to get in touch with your new roomie ahead of move-in day. This will be beneficial to help you get to know each other and for logistical reasons. Decide on who is bringing the TV and who is supplying the mini-fridge. There is no point in having two coffee pots or multiples of anything.
Stay open to communication and swap numbers or emails to establish rapport and keep a continual dialogue. You might use social media including Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram to help you stay connected. You may choose to meet up in person if you are close to each other.
Communicate your Crazy Habits in Advance
We all have weird habits and annoying quirks. Be sure to share these with your new roomie. If you play an instrument or have insomnia, or any food allergies, it is wise to discuss these potential issues early on.
Anything that may affect your housemate ideally should be discussed responsibly. If you can both speak about your issues openly and without judgment, you will feel freer to be yourselves. You don't want any unwelcome surprises down the road.
Establish Your House Rules
Create a priority list of things that are essential to both of you. Note that sharing space requires respect and communication. There will be plenty of awkward conversations about a variety of subjects.
Some people enjoy creating a formal roommate agreement while others like having a chart on their fridge. Perhaps, a simple conversation will suffice; however, writing things down will give you something to reference in the future.
Discuss your visitor policy to avoid disturbances. How do you feel about friends, girlfriends, or boyfriends staying over? The entire transition can become easier and smoother if you discuss the nitty-gritty beforehand.
Ensure you are sober and committed to these conversations to avoid potential miscommunication.
Discuss chore responsibilities, studying and quiet time, laundry schedules and how you will split household expenses like food, bills, and toiletries.
Picking Your Battles
Living with anyone is bound to be annoying from time to time. There will be things that you do that get on your roommates’ nerves and vice versa. It is essential to discuss which items require discussion and which ones are not that big a deal. Not everything will be worthy of conversation.
If dirty clothes are laying in the middle of the living room, you might want to tear your hair out; particularly if they have been there for days. It can be embarrassing to invite friends or family to visit if you live with someone who is less tidy.
If you plan to have people over for drinks or a potluck or a movie night, be considerate and let your roommate know in advance. It can be difficult to study when there is a group of loud people on the other side of the wall.
The earlier you can bring up issues calmly and politely, the better chance you have to be less confrontational and solution-seeking. You must work through any problems as a team. Avoid getting defensive if your roommate has a request for you. Aim to meet in the middle and strive for a resolution.
Understand Your Options
If you are unable to communicate with your housemate, it can be easy for resentment to set in. If you are unable to get along or find yourself living with a passive-aggressive narcissist, reach out for guidance from your resident assistant.
Request a Roommate Change
It is possible to request changing roommates if things are unable to be resolved. Ideally, it won't get this serious and hopefully you can communicate with each respectfully and compassionately. You should never feel threatened or like you are in any form of harm’s way (physically, financially, emotionally, etc.).
Taking the initiative to begin on excellent terms can help you transcend beyond roommates and become good friends. You may find that you work well together and enjoy each other's company! After all, many lifelong friendships begin as college roommates. Allow yourselves time to get to know each other and be patient with the process.