You have spent months stalking your roommate’s social media and the moment is finally here–move-in. You awkwardly hug one another and you shake their dad’s hand after he puts down the mini-fridge (you brought the TV). You have heard some truly terrifying roommate horror stories in the past but you think you can be best friends. Whether you already knew your roommate or were randomly paired together–fights are inevitable. You are sharing a small, intimate space and everyone gets stressed and upset at times.
Take a deep breath because we are here to help you avoid fights before they begin or dismantle them before they truly erupt.
Here are our top three tips on how to keep things just peachy between you and your roomie.
3. Manage Your Expectations
Hate to break it to you but it is unlikely you and your roommate will be BFFs. This is totally normal and could even be for the best. Living with your best friend can be taxing especially if you share a social circle. You are also more likely to keep each other from sleeping or being productive (“OMG you have to come out with me tonight!”). It is nice to have a friend removed from your usual crew in case you need to confide in them or vent.
The most important thing is that you two are not enemies. You do not have to share your deepest-darkest secrets but you do need to respect one another and be amicable. And if you do end up being best friends? Awesome!
2. Be Aware
Be cognizant of their class, extracurricular and sleep schedule. If they have an 8a.m. exam–do not host a pregame in your room. Always be quick to watch Netflix or listen to music with headphones and avoid talking on the phone in the room when they are present. Try not to have people in your room without asking your roommate if it is okay first. Be mature when it comes to conflicts and drama. You have to live with this person so you want to de-escalate situations instead of making fights worse.
Be aware of stressors in their life such as academics, family, relationships, or physical and mental health issues and be prepared to act accordingly. Keep your eyes and ears open and be ready to offer comfort, encouragement or just leave them alone when necessary. If you are ever concerned about your roommate and do not feel comfortable speaking with them about it, reach out to your RA or other campus resources such as the counseling center.
1. Roomie Contract!
Be sure to talk out–or even better write out any all questions/concerns you have about living together in your first week. Find a quiet time to sit down and work through how you want to approach problem areas like sleep schedules, room temperature, visitors, music volume, room security, alcohol, cleaning, general annoyances and approaches conflict. This last one is important as agreeing on how to resolve arguments will be a big help when one of you (inevitably) ticks the other off. This can be uncomfortable but it is important to ensure you are both happy with your living situation six months from now.
Check out this sample roommate contract here from Beloit College for ideas or just use this one–it is pretty comprehensive.