How To Get Along With Your New Roommate
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College

Establish Boundaries With Your Roommate So You Don't Spend The Whole Year Arguing

Have that adult conversation with your roommate. Make those decisions. Sit down and talk.

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Best friends sitting next to each other

A piece of advice I heard repeated several times as I was leaving for college was, "Leave your dorm! Don't just be friends with your roommate!" Frankly, I don't consider this to be very helpful. When you're in this new stage of independence, why not give yourself a comfortable home base? What's the point of not trying to get along?

I need to start off by saying that I got extremely lucky with the person I'm sharing a room with for the rest of the year. My roommate and I are basically the same person. Sure, we have different hometowns, different majors, and run on completely different schedules, but we have a ton of common interests and all of our conversations are comfortable. Here's the kicker: We were randomly assigned to each other.

The fact that we were handed to each other by our dorm meant that we needed to actually open a dialogue when we first met. We figured out what each other wanted with a roommate, and we were open to compromise. We tried to learn about each other. Now, I don't feel like a stranger in my home for this school year. No matter what's happened that day, I can always return to my dorm room and feel like I have a friend to talk to.

This doesn't mean that we spend all our time hiding in our room, introverted to the extreme. In fact, I think that we're more capable of making friends elsewhere because we know that someone else has our backs. Our room is a place to de-stress. We can leave it, completely sure that we'll be able to tell each other about our days and talk through any problems we face.

I have lost count of the number of times that people have told me that they don't know where their roommate is at a random point in time. I don't mean that they should be micromanaging their roommate's time, but, the Sunday night that my roommate was gone until four, I generally knew that she was out somewhere with her friends from church and that she wasn't dead in a ditch.

If a shared friend asks me where she is, I can tell them she's probably studying or with friends. She can tell them that I'm probably at a club meeting or in class. We don't know each other's schedule down to the minute, but we know each other well enough to know when to worry.

I know so many people whose roommates bother them in some way. They take it, don't talk to them about it, and complain about it later. It feels so sad to live like that. My roommate and I know what bothers each other. We've established what bothers us, and we always try to be courteous about what the other wants. It's made my life so much smoother, my college transition so much easier.

Have that adult conversation with your roommate. Make those decisions. Sit down and talk. You might find out that it will make your life much, much better.

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