Diversity in college is common. When you first enter college, you will encounter many people that you’ve never met before. These people could have a different nationality, family background, living habits, and routine than yours. For most freshmen, this could be the first time that you are away from home.
Living without your family could be a challenge for some because you will have to learn how to be independent. But, if you are lucky, your roommate can be just like your family! Your roommate could be the person who will be with you the most throughout your college journey.
Most colleges allow you to pick your roommate, but some people will choose to randomly select their roommate. But whether you're living with your best friend or with a new friend, there are a lot of little details about living in a dorm that both of you will have to pay attention to.
Let's get started with some tips that will help you build a strong relationship with your roommate.
1. Be open to new things
You and your roommate might come from completely different countries and have different living and eating habits. Now that you guys are roommates, you should try to get to know each other more. Due to your diverse backgrounds and different experiences, each of you might have completely different opinions on all sorts of topics. To get along best with your roommate, you should be open to new ideas. There might be lots of things that you can learn from each other. You may also learn from sharing your experiences. A major part of teamwork is working together and considering each other's ideas.
For example, when you are working on a project with your roommate, you two might be professionals in different areas. If you think you have contrasting experiences or ideas, talk to your roommate. No one is right or wrong, it’s just a different perspective.
Any time you and your roommate run into an argument because of your differing opinions and perspectives, try to calm down and understand the reasoning behind the disagreement. Talking it out will teach you a valuable lesson about different cultural perspectives. Sometimes you will have to agree to disagree and move on.
2. Clean your room often
When you live with other people, it’s important to keep your dorm clean and neat. Living in a fresh and clean environment will make you feel comfortable and keep you physically healthy. In order to accomplish this, you can set a cleaning schedule with your roommate. Without taking too much of your free time, clean your dorm at least once a week.
If for some reason, your roommate doesn’t like to clean, you can find a time to clean when your roommate IS in the dorm. When he/she sees you cleaning, they might be hesitant to sit there and watch. The action alone could encourage them to clean with you.
3. Ask your roommate before you bring friends to your dorm
You may be a very outgoing person and have tons of friends. However, your roommate might be more introverted and might enjoy spending time alone. You must understand that a dorm is not that big so you must leave space for your roommate. Your roommate could be studying for a test and might not want other people in the room. To solve this issue, always ask your roommate before you bring friends to your dorm. Additionally, make sure to invite your roommate to hang out with you and your friends if your roommate allows you to have them over.
Always be aware of the number of friends that you bring back to your dorm. One to three friends are usually acceptable, because of the spatial limits of the dorm room.
4. Be considerate
Imagine how your roommate might feel if you put your music on a speaker while your roommate is studying. Imagine how they might feel if you turn the light on while your roommate is asleep. For this reason, you must consider every action that you take.
Something that may seem normal to you, could be a major inconvenience to others.
Make sure that you consider your roommate’s feelings. We all know that nobody's perfect, but we can always strive for perfection. You must try to be as considerate as possible towards your roommate.
If you need to get up early someday, make sure that you set your alarm to vibration mode or use headphones. This will prevent your alarm from waking up your roommate.
5. Be willing to share
A phrase that we have all heard is “sharing is caring”. Sharing is a vital life skill that everyone needs to know. For example, if you’re eating food in your dorm room, offer to share some of it with your roommate. In addition to sharing food, you can also share the little details in life. These discussions about everyday life can help you bond with your roommate. As you share more and more with your roommate you will build a closer relationship with your roommate. You will begin to share each other's interests.
6. Address small issues
Does your roommate use your stuff quite often? You might be hesitant to tell him/ her not to use your stuff. In fact, you might want to avoid this awkward conversation. But, avoiding this conversation in the beginning will cause more problems later on. All in all, you must address these little things that bother you before they become a big issue. This will help your roommate better understand you.
Using your roommate’s stuff once or twice will likely not cause problems. However, I would recommend that you show respect to your roommate by asking for permission before using their stuff.
7. Respect each other’s privacy
Respecting each other’s privacy is one of the most important aspects of living with another person. Don’t tell other people things that your roommate said to you privately, when your roommate tells you something personal. This means that they trust you. What you need to do is to listen and keep it to yourself. When someone tells you something private, you should feel good as this means that you’re growing closer together with that person.
8. Communicate often
When you first get to know your roommate, each of you might be shy. However, as time goes on, this shyness will fade and you will find that you have a lot to talk about. Don’t be hesitant to start this conversation. Now one question that you might have is: What happens if you can’t find a common topic to talk about? Create some conversation! To do this, simply ask your roommate the following questions: What have you done today? How has your day been? What’s going on in your classes? These simple questions will give you lots of topics for you to talk about.
Believe or not, your roommate might seem quiet when you guys are not familiar with each other. When living together for a long period of time, you will find that conversation between the two of you will never seem to end.
Following each of these 8 tips will ensure that you have a solid relationship with your roommate. However, you must understand that your roommate might not become your best friend. Some people can be great friends with their roommate, but for others, a roommate is just someone who happens to share a room with them. I hope all of you can get along with your roommate and develop a fantastic relationship.