You Don’t Have to Like Your Roommate

But You Must Be Able to Tolerate Them

As someone who is in their fifth year of living on campus, I understand how the whole roommate situation can make or break the entire year. After all, having to live in a shared space with another person can be difficult, especially if you are not used to it or don’t really know them. Yet somehow, you always hear the stories at weddings from the maid of honor or best man, sharing how their unbreakable friendship started in the dorms all those years ago. On the other hand, you have also likely heard at least one story about a nightmare of a roommate who didn’t know boundaries. 

Regardless of what you have heard, it is very likely that you are living in the same room as another person this year. Now that you have a couple weeks under your belt, you have likely gotten a taste of what the other person is like. As time continues to pass, you may find that the accountability between you changes.

This could include not cleaning up after themselves, being inconsiderate of personal time, or “borrowing items” without asking first. Now is the time to set those ground rules, before things get out of hand. You don’t have to like your roommate, but at the very least you must be able to tolerate them.

If you are not used to sharing that small of a space with another person, you may struggle with the idea of compromise. Or you may be worried about being too much of a pushover. Either way, there are a lot of little things that will need to be talked about that you likely haven’t even considered. This can include things that can be shared, such as microwaves, fridges, food, clothes, and even toiletries.

Other things can include what time you like to go to bed, if you like to take naps, if the lights can be on, if there needs to be some white noise, or if the fan should stay on. Beyond that, you should consider what temperature you want the room to be, guests and what they are allowed to touch in the rooms, and if they plan on staying overnight. The list goes on and on, and you may find it tedious. However, talking about it now can prevent tensions from rising later in the year. 

When starting these kinds of conversations, make sure that you are both in a mood where you feel comfortable sharing opinions and know that they might not be the same. If you and your roommate are already off to a rocky start, then talking with the RA to mediate might be your best bet. They will be coming around sometime soon to have these conversations with you and your roommate anyways. However, it’s not too early to be prepared for that success plan. 

While I hope that each and every one of you finds a friend in the person you are living with, I know that that is not realistic. As long as you are willing to find some middle ground, it will make the rest of the year much more bearable. I have had roommates that I still love spending time with, those that I have not talked to since I moved out, and everything in between. Regardless, setting expectations ahead of time and knowing that I could go to my RA if the conflict got out of hand was very helpful and made the year go smoothly.

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