Unless you’re rooming with someone you already know, a college roommate can be a wild card. For many, this is the first time that they are sharing their living space for an extended period of time. As a result, tensions can run high if you aren’t careful, dragging down both your mood and possibly even your GPA. In order to maintain a good relationship with your roommate and avoid explosions in your dorm room, try some of the following tips.
- Make rules early on. Chances are, you and your roommate will have some different habits. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but drawing up some general guidelines at the start of the school year will let you both know what to expect. (Defining what “neat” entails is a great start.)
Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Passive aggressiveness gets you nowhere. Try to address problems when they are small, and in an open, non-confrontational manner. In addition, a little occasional compromising goes a long way.
Have a fun shared activity. It can be something short and sweet. Some simple ideas would include going out to eat, participating in a club or even just going to the gym.
Take breaks from each other. Even the best of friends need to separate occasionally. It’s healthy for both of you to have other friends and interests. The last thing you want is to give off the impression of being an impenetrable duo.
Don’t try to force it. Sometimes your roommate may end up being your best friend. On the other hand, clicking on a higher level than "roommate", may just not be in the deck of cards. Maybe you two don't have similar interests or personalities that qualify each other as friendship material. Just because you were randomly paired up, doesn't mean you have to like each other to the point of friendship. If that’s the case, don’t worry! Being courteous is a must, but friendship is not something that can be forced. If you let resentments fester and don't really speak into how you feel, you plant the seed to a toxic relationship, that will one day blow up. Nothing is more awkward than living with someone you're not speaking with!
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