Almost everyone in college has to deal with a roommate at some point in time, unless you’re lucky enough to always have your own place. But for those of us who have no other choice, living with other people can be tricky especially if this is the first time living away on your own (away from your parents). Moving away from your parents is the time to discover yourself, you learn what you like and don’t like as far as having your own place, but throw a roommate in the picture and this can be a difficult task. That is why I have a little advice for those having to learn the joys of living with someone else.
First, and some people may argue with me on this, but I would advise not to live with a best friend. I know, you’re thinking, “but I love my friend, we would never fight” Think again. Living with someone is totally different from just hanging out with them. Unless you know your friend is a slob, a neat freak, a party animal, a loner, etc. and you’re complete ready to accept their qualities, don’t do it.
Then again, living with a stranger, such as in a dorm, can be hard to get used to. I suggest as soon as you move in, get to know each other. This way you can learn about them, their likes and dislikes, and give each other feedback if there are things you disagree with. By doing this you’ll know early on whether you’ll enjoy living with this person. If you don’t discuss these things and set boundaries then, when your roommates start to do something you don’t like, it can end in a fight and with you living awkwardly in silence trying to avoid one another.
You and your roommate don’t have to be joined at the hip. It’s okay to have separate friends and not hang out with each other all the time on campus. It doesn’t mean you don’t like each other. Space is good, especially when you’re already seeing this person every day.
Lastly, communication is key. Don’t expect your roommate to know what you’re thinking. If they did something you don’t like – moved something, used something, said something hurtful – then just talk to them about it, but in a mature adult way. Nobody likes to be badgered or accused. Communication is the only way that living with someone will ultimately work, and when works you could up with a friend for life.