How to survive with your university roommate?

6 Dec, 2018

Whether you love or hate your roommate, you two are stuck together fur the duration of the year. Roommate feuds are few and far between, luckily for all parties.

The idea of getting along with a random student is scary, but know that you can survive the year and, with luck, come out the other side with a solid friendship. Here's how.

1. Start With the Right Expectations

Let's get this out of the way: you're not going to start off as besties. Lower your expectations for a best friend meet cute and aim to get along with your roommate. As long as you respect one another's schedules, communicate well, and don't interfere with study needs, you're ahead of the pack. Now that you know BFF-ship isn't necessarily your goal, you can relax -- and that will make the rest of the roommie

2. Look for Common Ground

This is the simplest way to break the ice with your new roommate. Maybe you're both studying hospitality management, or perhaps you both love to do yoga. By finding common ground, you can create inroads to get to know your roommate more. Say, you head to yoga class together and then grab smoothies. This low-key bonding will pave the way for a harmonious relationship.

Another easy way to break the ice with your roommate is to compliment them. If you like their sense of personal style or admire their sports skills, let them know.

3. Assert Your Boundaries

Some students act like total pushovers in the quest to find roommate peace, and this strategy is sure to backfire by year's end. You two will have to find a way to live together, and this means compromise. So if you like to go to bed by 10 p.m., don't tell your roommate that you stay up super late. If you need peace and quiet to study, request that your roommate listen to music with headphones.

If you think it's awkward to assert your boundaries with someone you've just met, know that it's actually way easier to set a line in the sand than to walk something back after you pretended you were fine with it.

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4. Find Independent Interests

Even great roommates need a break from one another. While you should invest time in getting to know (and bond with) your roommate, don't forget to spend time on your other interests. Attend meetings of clubs you think you might want to join, try out for college sports teams, and don't neglect your studies! Both you and your random roommate need time alone, and getting involved in things that interest you early on during your first year of college is one of the best ways to give them alone time

Your roommate will appreciate it when you have other friends and interests that get you out of the suite. You'll be doubly glad you found other things to do if, despite your best efforts, your roommie is kind of a dud.

5. But Still Do Things Together

Invite your roommate out with your new pals now and then, or go shopping or out to dinner off campus. Occasional roommie bonding helps reduce any tension that has built up between you two. Hanging out outside of the dorm room can bring you two closer together.

6. Communicate

Most roommate issues come down to communication. Unless you attended boarding school, college is probably the first time you are living with someone who isn't related to you -- and the first time you need to rely on strong communication skills to solve problems. While you can yell at your little sister for hogging the bathroom, you can't exactly treat your new roommie the same way!

If your roommate is introverted or doesn't send clear signals (like telling you that you can have a party then acting pissy the next day), then your best bet is to ask them what they need, honor their needs if they are fair, and not let their bad attitude get to you.

Communication goes two ways, so if your roommate asks you to clear out because they're having a study group over, accommodate their need.

When you follow these tips, you will not only survive but thrive with your college roommate -- and if you get a good friend out of the deal, so much the better!

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