Sharing something as intimate as living space with a complete stranger understandably causes fear and apprehension for many people.
Small things such as different habits or sleep schedules can make things especially challenging. But by using good communication and a little common courtesy, having a roommate can be a rewarding and even enjoyable experience.
Here are some tips that can help make living with a roommate a harmonious experience.
1. Set Ground Rules.
Right from the beginning, talk about any needs you may have. If you can’t function before your first cup of coffee, let your roommate know. Discussing your expectations from the outset will help you avoid misunderstandings later on.
2. Store Unnecessary Objects.
You and your roommate will likely be a very small space. With this in mind, storing items that are not absolutely essential will make for less clutter in the dorm.
3. Don’t Expect to Be Best Friends.
It’s only natural to want to get along well with your roommate, but it is unrealistic to think you will become the close friends only because you live together. Instead, focus on forming a pleasant relationship with your roommate by showing mutual respect.
4. Give Each Other Space.
Everyone needs some alone time at some point. By coordinating your schedules, you can plan to have some alone time in the room as well as let your roommate have the room to himself at times.
5. Decide What to Share.
Be clear from the beginning if you are willing to share food, shampoo, clothes or any other items. Nothing is more irritating than realizing that your roommate has taken something without asking. Be respectful of her things as well.
6. If in Doubt, Ask.
Instead of putting your roommate in an uncomfortable situation, make sure that he is ok with whatever you plan to do. Before inviting friends over to study, check with him first to see if he minds.
7. Be Open-minded.
Your roommate likely has different customs, upbringing and possibly religion from yours. Instead of judging her, be willing to respectfully learn about a different way of life, even if you do not especially agree with certain things.
8. Be Neat.
Do your best to keep your things tidy and not scattered all over the room. If you realize that you’ve brought to many personal items or furniture, consider taking out a storage unit to make more room in the dorm.
9. Lock the Room.
Make sure to leave the room secure when you step out, even briefly. It would be awful to be responsible if any of your roommate items were stolen.
10. Talk About Irritating Habits.
If you find that something your roommate does drives you crazy, talk to them about it before it becomes a huge issue.
Making use of even half of these tips will make living with another person, be it a roommate, friend or even a spouse more enjoyable. The key is to remember that even the smallest gestures can make a huge impact on a close relationship.
Image by Asurroca and licensed through Creative Commons.
Sasha Smith works for EZ Storage, a Massachusetts mini storage company that offers self storage in the Boston metro area.