Perhaps the most exciting and the most daunting thing about starting college is sharing a room with someone you’ve never met. Sometimes you get lucky and can room with a friend, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll never see conflict. Whether your roommate is your best friend or just an acquaintance, you need to know how to handle any difficult situation. Here are some tips on how to make the best of a difficult roommate:
1. Set boundaries early on
Make sure that you talk with your roommate early in your relationship and discuss any expectations that you may have for one another. If you are a morning person or a night owl be sure that she knows this, and be sure that you know the same details about her. Set guidelines for coming home late and having guests over. Also discuss and divvy up chores. How will you go about washing dishes? If there is a bathroom in your dorm, who will clean it and when? Creating a chore chart may seem juvenile, but it works wonders.
2. Keep open communication
Let your roommate know that you’re willing to talk difficulties through with them. Set up times that work for both of you to sit down and talk. Sometimes all it takes is saying, “If you need to talk about something, then just come to me.” But keep in mind that communication can often lead to confrontation. Be ready to keep your cool; never battle it out. The extra tension of fighting won’t help you solve anything.
3. Get out of the dorm together
Sometimes being in such a confined space will give you “cabin fever.” Try and get out with your roommate. Go to a local restaurant, or even the dining hall, and have dinner together. Find an event going on in town, like the fair, or find a bowling alley or something to go to. Sometimes all you need is to de-stress the situation and spend time together outside the confines of you small dorm space.
4. Get out of the dorm alone
Time apart can also be a good solution to any difficulties between roommates. Give each other a chance to breathe. Go out with some other friends or get some study time in at the library for a few hours. Take a walk, go shopping or go work out. Don’t dwell on the issues in your dorm. Calm yourself before going back and taking any other action.
5. Evaluate your emotions
Are you stressed about your classes? Are you irritable because you’ve been pulling too many all-nighters? Other emotions can affect your mood in your room. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Are you annoyed with your roommate or their behavior or are you just stressed about other things? Is it really worth turning into a big deal? Sometimes being in such close proximity to another person causes you to place other emotions onto them. Make sure you’re not just taking other angers out on your roomie.