As you experience living with a roommate, below are some tips to keep in mind to get off to a good start and to obtain a healthy relationship:
This is an important part of moving in with a new person. Get to know who you’ll be living with. Find out if you share any common interests or hobbies and go from there! Your roommate may not turn out to be your new best friend, but this is someone you’re going to be around a lot, so get to know them!
Do you know in advance that you hate it when someone hits the snooze button fifteen times every morning? That you hate a messy room? Feel like mornings aren’t meant for chit chat? 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.
Communication is key when moving in with someone new. Whether you’re moving in with a close friend or a random roommate, this is going to be NEW. Communicate anything that your roommate should know about you. Communication is also important when any issues may arise. If something is bothering you, let them know before it grows into a larger conflict.
Everyone has their own set of personal boundaries. Discuss whether you are comfortable sharing things like food, appliances, etc. Try to keep your belongings in your area and don’t touch their belongings unless you have permission!
This may seem simple, but it's probably one of the biggest reasons why roommates experience conflict. Don't think they'll mind if you borrow their cleats for a quick soccer game? For all you know, you just stepped over an uncrossable line. Don't borrow, use, or take anything without getting permission first.
This could mean creating a chore chart to decide who is taking out the trash or vacuuming each week, but chore charts aren’t for everyone. What’s most important is ensuring that you and your roommate are both pulling weight to keep your space clean and organized.
One of the first things you should do after you’ve moved in with someone new is to become familiar with their schedule. This is especially important regarding sleep schedules. Your roommate isn’t going to be your biggest fan if they go to bed at 9 p.m. and you stay up until 3 a.m. doing homework with the light on every night. Find a schedule that works for both of you!
You may love having your study group into your room. But your roommate may not. Be mindful of how often you bring people over. If your roommate studies best in the quiet, and you study best in a group, can you alternate who hits the library and who gets the room?
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.
Don't go into your roommate relationship thinking that you are going to be best friends the whole time you're at school. 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. Even if you and your roommate don’t become best friends, being respectful will positively affect your room environment.
Realizing that other people come from different backgrounds and were raised differently will likely save you a lot of frustration in the long run. Understand that your roommate’s habits may not be exactly the same as your own, so try to find a way to meet in the middle if your differences are causing a conflict.
You should expect to learn, grow, and change during your time at school. And 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 things that unexpectedly come up, setting new rules, and being flexible to your changing environment.
Personal space can become a huge issue in with roommates. Be mindful that you are sharing a space with another person and take their feelings into consideration. Transitioning to a less spacious living arrangement can be tough and having to share your space with another person can make it even tougher. Let the other person have a few hours in the room to themselves each week. Practice quiet time - even if you have similar taste in music, shows and movies, that doesn’t mean that they constantly want to hear whatever you’re watching or listening to.
Is your roommate always forgetting stuff for the shower and taking yours? Are your clothes being borrowed faster than you can wash them? Addressing things that bug you while they're still little can help your roommate be aware of something they may not otherwise know. And addressing little things is much easier than addressing them after they've become big.
You may not have been totally honest with tip #2, or you may suddenly find yourself with a roommate 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.