Going off to college and getting a new roommate can be one of the most thrilling experiences of moving away from home! Everything is great the first couple of weeks and then after the honeymoon phase, you start realizing every little detail about this person that is beginning to get on your nerves. Instead of being so quick to point out their flaws, take a quick second to reevaluate yourself as a roommate… are YOU being the person you’d love to live with!
Do you like things exactly the way you left them, even when you place them in common spaces used by others? Are your shoes left at the door, when your roommates all tuck them away? Do you insist on lights out when you want to go to bed early? Is the thermostat kept at a higher temperature knowing that they will want to turn it down? Do you walk out in a huff when your roommate has over a friend during the day when you are trying to study? It’s so important to have those conversations now at the beginning of the year to establish healthy boundaries.
We get it; you’ve moved out on your own, you no longer have your parents telling you to clean up your room or to put your dishes away. I’m an adult now, I can decide if and when I want to clean up! This is fine if you live alone, but don’t be the one with roommates that thinks, “If I leave my dishes long enough someone will wash them.” Not a way to make friends! Out of respect to your roommate(s), clean up after yourself!
Your place is fun, there are always people around to chat with and you have the best food! Friends of friends are made aware that your place is the place to be! This is all great as long as you and your roommate(s) are on the same page about guests! Be upfront with each other regarding when and how often guests are allowed! If you aren’t communicating this and you have guests over till 1am on the eve of your roommate’s major exam… your relationship may be on the outs the next day!
“My roommate seems annoyed that my boyfriend was over till 2am and now she’s avoiding me, I’ll just leave her a note asking what her problem is.” – Not the best way to handle this! If conflict comes up and you are passive aggressive about the situation (i.e. leaving a note, sending an e-mail or text), bitterness, sharpness, and/or resentment may set in and it may escalate by the next time you encounter your roommate. These types of conversations are difficult and potentially awkward… but do yourself a favor… take the bull by the horns and get it over with! You’ll thank us later!
The list can go on and on about what a bad roommate looks like. Everyone has a different outlook on what they perceive to be a comfortable living space. It’s up to you and your roommate(s) to respect each other’s opinions and find a happy medium! Your college years are some of the best years of your life…spend them enjoying it with your roommate(s)!
When you feel like lines are crossed, it’s time for another conversation that puts friendship first, offering compromises that include sacrificing some of your own preferences.
Here is a great resource from Virginia Tech that lists great suggestions for conversation starters.
At Valley Women’s Clinic, we’re pulling for you!