Having a roommate is one of the most intimidating aspects of college. The idea of sharing a small space with a stranger is scary enough, but when you begin to think about the little details, it becomes downright terrifying. Who is going to clean the bathroom? What if they leave their stuff everywhere? Worst of all, what if they are a morning person? Whatever your worries are, they are valid.
Having a roommate is difficult enough, sure, but maintaining a good relationship with your roommate certainly does not come easy. Maybe you and your roommate have a decent enough relationship, but you are worried about it deteriorating or accidentally doing something that upsets them. Here is a list of ways to make sure you are maintaining a good relationship with your roommate and ensuring tranquility in your room.
1. Remember that you don’t need to be best friends.
Sometimes, the best roommates are the ones that aren’t your best friends. You spend enough time with your roommate as it is and typically, the more time you spend with someone, the more problems arise. Being in separate friend groups could help the atmosphere in the room. You may feel the need to talk to your roommate about how you barely passed that test, you didn’t like the meatloaf in the cafeteria, and why that guy in your Economics class is really cute, but your roommate may not want to hear about all that the way a best friend would.
2. Be aware of your own bad habits.
Before you complain about your roommate leaving clothes on the floor and keeping the lights on, try to think about what you do. No one is ever the perfect roommate, no matter how pristine your side of the room is and how early you are in bed. The same way they do things that annoy you, you also have habits that annoy them. When you decide to have the conversation with them about their habits, be open-minded that they could admit to not liking what you do. Sure, they keep you awake at night, but maybe you wake them up in the morning.
3. Always ask permission.
This may seem like common sense, but before you use anything of your roommate’s, make sure you ask permission first. There have been horror stories of people eating their roommate’s food, wearing their clothes, and something that really freaked me out; using their toothbrush. Please use common sense (and good hygienic practices) when it comes to using and taking your roommate’s items. If you wouldn’t want them pawing around in your food bin or in your closet without permission, don’t do that to them. If you would like to share the grocery bill and maybe borrow that cute shirt from ASOS in their closet, just ask! Don’t ask to use their toothbrush though, because I’m not sure that will go over too well.
4. Remember that it’s their space, too.
You both are sharing a space. Normally, that space is tiny. It’s important that you both do your best to share. If there are two dressers and two closets in one room, split everything between the two of you. If you have a bathroom, switch off on who cleans it weekly. If the mini-fridge is yours, but their leftovers will go bad, offer up some space in the fridge. Living in a tiny room with an unknown person is always weird and a bit intimidating, but keep in mind that they are a person too. Yeah, maybe they are annoying, but a little dialogue and a kind gesture will go a long way. Respect that it’s their space, too.
5. You got a problem? Talk it out.
If you don’t like your roommate constantly leaving Chinese food containers in the garbage can or having people over constantly, talk to them about it, no matter how badly you don’t want to. Communication is the best way of maintaining a good relationship with your roommate, but it’s also the hardest thing to do. Remember that being a good roommate and keeping the room amicable is difficult, but a few tense moments pay off when you both understand each other better.