Being a college student, you'll most likely experience what it's like to live with other people and share a common space. Though this can be difficult, building good relationships with your roommates are vital to creating a functional shared living space where there’s mutual understanding between everyone involved.
Not only will this reduce conflict, but it will ultimately make your living experience a lot more enjoyable and can teach you a lot about yourself.
Whether you’re a first-year student sharing a small dorm room with a roommate or an apartment with three other people, the same principles apply. Everyone is different and have different qualities that can conflict with yours, such as cleanliness or how late they like to stay up.
Regardless of how different they are from you, there’s always a way to meet in the middle and come to a solution that works for everyone. Here are some ways you can develop good with relationships with roommates and effectively share the same living space.
1. Speak your mind
It’s important to first sit down with your roommate(s) and establish what you want or expect while living together. The purpose of this isn’t to present demands for how you want things to be, but rather to get your words out and explain what you’d like to have so others involved can agree with or discuss ways to meet in the middle if they aren't fully on board with your requests. The goal is to create a standard of living that you and your roommate(s) can all agree upon and adhere to.
2. Reach a middle ground and make compromises
Most likely your roommate(s) won’t agree on absolutely everything that you want. If they do, then that’s great! But if they don’t entirely agree, don’t get mad or defensive.
Keep in mind that you are just as much their roommate as you are theirs and they deserve just as much a say as you do.
Plus if you can't hear them out, odds are they won't wanna hear you out either. So take their perspectives into account and do your best to reach a compromise that works for everyone involved.
You can’t expect your roommate(s) to be exactly like you. It’s important to recognize this and be mindful of how others like to live. If they leave dishes everywhere and you don't like it, kindly ask them to at least put them in the sink and give reasons for why you'd like them there so they can further understand where you’re coming from. It’s essential to express your opinions in a mature manner and allow other people to make comments in a productive conversation as opposed to creating an altercation.
3. Avoid and properly handle altercations
It’s common for roommates to get in arguments about who's right and who's wrong. Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, it’s important you handle them in a way that doesn’t escalate the situation. One difference or conflicting opinion isn’t worth having to living in a tense situation that you have to constantly deal with. At the end of the day, you have to live with your roommate(s) and if you let the conflict control your relationship with that person, nothing is going to get better or solved.
Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and be the bigger person.
It reflects a lot better on you as a person if you’re the one who’s actively trying to fix the situation, regardless of the circumstances or how you feel. It’s not worth living with constant tension that you have to deal with whenever you’re home. You don’t have to be friends, but you need to be mindful of others and try to find a compromise so you can both shake hands and be on good terms.
4. Do what you can to be a good roommate
One of the best things you can do to get on good terms with your roommate(s) is to be a good roommate as a whole. Not only can this help build better relationships with the people you live with, but it can also make them more inclined to give the same respect back towards you. A great way to look at this is to give your roommate(s) the same behavior and respect that you would like to see from them.
There are many things you can do to be a better person to live with that don’t require much effort at all. For example, If you live in a dorm, ask your roommate if it’s alright to have people over before you invite them, especially in the evening. Your roommate might have homework or studying they need to do and having friends over can be a huge distraction. Or if you have a class early in the morning and your roommate is still asleep, don’t play music or be extremely noisy while you’re getting ready.
All in all, building good relationships with the people you live with is essential to having a functional shared living environment. With a good mindset and mutual understanding between everyone involved, living with roommates can be an eye-opening experience and be a lot of fun! You’ll learn a lot about what it’s like to share a space with others and you may even discover things about yourself you didn’t notice before.