As the new semester is beginning to ramp up and moving into dorms, apartments, and houses commences, so does the awkward encounter of having a roommate who do not share the same perspectives as you do. Personally, I had first hand experience with this, as my roommate was a Bernie supporter.  She had a “Babes for Bernie” button displayed for all to see. While we disagreed on politics, she became one of my best friends. Here are four things to remember when living with a left-leaning roommate and still like each other by the end of the year.

  1. Be respectful

You both will not agree on everything.  That is a given. When the inevitable debates begin and they turn to difficult topics with a lot to discuss, remember to respect your roommate’s views. You won’t be able to change her mind in one debate, just as she will be unable to change yours. You may not even change it in during the year. We all have reasons why we hold the beliefs we do.  Sometimes we can be stubbornly set in them. You have to be able to respect your roommate as a person and keep politics out of whose turn it is to do the dishes.

  1. Learn to agree to disagree

This is one of the best pieces of advice to give. While there is common ground to be found and trust me, it’s there! You may just have to search high and low for it. You have to remember that you will never agree on everything. Agreeing to disagree postpones the discussion until you both can do more research, or least until you both calm down.

  1.  Brush up on your reasoning

Your debate skills are about to get a workout, and you should be ready for it. From the little topics to the big ones, knowing the why behind your stances will serve you greatly. If you are unable to defend your opinions, you will have no ability to entertain an open and healthy debate. You will want to be able to show your roommate the solid facts that you have built your opinion on. She will be more open to hearing your side if you show confidence in your presentation.

  1. Keep an open mind

Don’t be surprised if you have some of your beliefs change or the reasoning behind them shift. They may move more left or more right, but if you allow yourself to reflect on what is being presented, you might surprise yourself. Allowing yourself to do so is giving your mind an opportunity to see different aspects of arguments, which should not be taken for granted.

Politics aside, remember that there is more to your roommate than their political perspective. The nights eating pizza, the late night conversations about life, and the coffee dates will solidify your friendship.  Those are worth more than disliking each other because you cannot agree on a political stance. Take a chance, study up, and remember to stand strong in your beliefs.

Bailey L
Bailey is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who enjoys writing, traveling, and coffee. When she isn't working, you can find her with her nose in a book or planning her next adventure.

Read more articles