Image Credits: Elana Lyn

Not only is adjusting to college hard – but so is adjusting to life with a roommate – one that is not your sibling or family member.  You soon find that everyone has been raised differently.  Instead of using this as a source of hostility, let it be a learning experience.  In life, you will always have to deal with people that are different than you.  The earlier you learn how to effectively deal with different kinds of people, the better.  Here are 10 ways to avoid being the worst roommate ever.

  1.  DO take time to genuinely talk to your roommate. Get to know her ambitions, dreams, likes, dislikes, and make sure to ask about her day. Getting a feel of your roommate’s personality can help you avoid future conflicts.

  2. DON’T be closed-minded. College is a great time to get to know people you would typically never meet. Realize that not everyone was raised how you were, not everyone shares the same religion, and not everyone has the same political views. There is no reason to shame anyone simply for not thinking like you do.

  3. DO have open communication. I’ll be the first to admit it, I hate confrontation. Nope nope nope, not for me. I’m currently on my fourth roommate and I’m just starting my sophomore year.  If there is anything I have learned, it is to talk about your problems. Letting them build up and letting passive aggressive tendencies take over your sanity is no way to live your life.

  4. DON’T be inconsiderate. This goes along with sharing. You do not have a lot of space, which means sharing the room equally is imperative. This not only applies to things, but to feelings.

  5. DO establish some ground rules. Pinterest offers great example “Roommate Contracts”. Don’t let that word scare you, they aren’t that bad. It can consist of the desired temperature in the room, what you want to share/do not want to share, if friends are ok to come in the room, if the opposite sex can sleep over, general bed time, or what day a week you both clean the room. Setting up some ground rules ensures that you will not run into near as many problems living together in what can seem like a tiny prison cell.

  6. DON’T think you have to be best friends with your roommate. You spend a lot of time together as it is, so there is no reason to feel like you have to spend all of your social free time with her as well. You are allowed to have your own lives.

  7. DO be nice. Make sure you pay attention to what you say and how your body language is towards your roommate. It is the absolute worst being away from home and not even feeling comfortable in your own room. Go out of your way to write a sweet note or get your roommate her favorite candy if you know she is having a tough time that week.

  8. DON’T assume things. College is a time to remember that you shouldn’t stereotype anyone or assume they think a certain way or are prone to doing certain things. No one is exactly the same.

  9. DO be loving. Horrible things happen during the school year, but your personal views aside and care for your roommate. No matter if you are not getting along with her, she is a person. Respect her and have compassion. Do not leave her in the dark. Try not to be petty. Don’t make her feel empty inside. You have no idea what inner battles she might be dealing with.  

  10. DON’T let your roommate go out alone in the unknown. Safety is key in college. Although you do not have to be best friends, you need to care about your roommate enough to make sure she’s always safe. Find My Friends is a great app to have to make sure you know where she is – my roommate and I swear by it. If I know I am going to be out late or attending any social event, I let my roommate know where I’m going, who I’m with, and a general time I would be away. Your roommate is not trying to pretend she’s your mother; she is just being cautious and caring about your well-being.

Holly M
Holly is a Special Education & Elementary Education double major. She spends the majority of her time being a dog mom and trainer to her service dog Delilah. She prides herself on watching The Office a total of 21 times so far.

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