If you look around campus, you’ll see the leaves are just starting to turn golden. The air smells like dozens of pumpkin spice lattes. The sweaters you’ve hidden away for the last few months have a chance to see the pale sun again, and, can you feel it? The tension. Class projects are building up, sleeping time is cut down, and many people’s stress levels rise. While many of the sources of tension are unavoidable, roommate tension is often preventable. I would like to provide you with a few quick tips for healthy roommate relationships.
- Respect their stuff: This is pretty obvious. This rule goes for anything that they own, including (but not limited to) their clothing, food, music..etc. While you may be ok sharing a razor, your roommate may not. If you’re unsure if your roommate would be ok with you using something of theirs: ask. And if you don’t want to ask, well, maybe you shouldn’t use it.
- Maintain open communication: While this concept is universal, the application of this principle will be specific to you and your roommate. For some, this means the two of you will meet in ARAMARK between classes to catch up. For others, this may mean simply shooting your roommate a text when you leave to visit your grandma for the weekend. The important part is not how you stay in contact, but that you do stay in contact.
- Use their love language even if it’s not yours. My freshman year I had a roommate who had a very different love language than I did. Acts of service spoke volumes to her, but spoke absolutely nothing to me. It was not until later when we understood each others’ love languages that we were able to communicate both openly and lovingly.
- Don’t try to change them: We are all created as unique and complex individuals, and at times, your uniqueness and your roommate’s might not mesh well. While you may be frustrated with them for not putting their toothbrush away, again, they’re probably just as frustrated with you for playing the “High School Musical” soundtrack over and over and over. Friction will happen. But if you are respectful, maintain open communication, and use their love language, the friction will give way to friendship.