I’ve never had a roommate that I’ve known beforehand.
I’ve had three roommates since starting college, and I didn’t know a single one before we lived together. Through the different roommates I’ve had, I’ve learned how to deal with tough situations and how to make it not so awkward, something I think every person wants a little less of in their life. Especially in college.
Related: How I Found My Perfect College
So how did I survive living with total strangers? By following these four rules:
This can be extremely awkward to bring up for some college students (um, me), but it’s absolutely imperative! Otherwise, you’ll be letting your roommate do whatever they want.
A good way to get this out of the way early is by filling out a roommate agreement. My college hands them out for students to complete, or you could just create your own or find one online! Here’s an awesome one from Her Campus!
Or if just talking is more your style, you can do that as well!
Just be sure to cover these topics:
– Who’s buying cleaning supplies and toilet paper?
– Are guests allowed over? When? Do they need to get permission to have them over?
– Are you going to share anything? Food? TV? Speakers? Dishes?
– Who’s taking out the trash/recycle and do the dishes? Is there a schedule?
– How loud can music/TV be or must headphones be worn?
– When is lights out?
Don’t get petty
If your roommate repeatedly forgets to take out the trash or never replaces the toilet paper, don’t get petty. That means, don’t pile up the trash and never take it out, waiting for them to do it, and don’t hide your toilet paper so only you can use it until they buy their own.
While they may be tempting, these actions won’t get you anywhere in the long run. Your roommate will just get upset with you in turn and may end up doing the same to you.
Instead, take care of the issue yourself, and then casually mention to them that it’s their turn to take out the trash next or their turn to buy toilet paper. Or you can leave a sticky note for them saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I took the trash out before class. So tag you’re it!”
Don’t expect perfection
If you’re living with a random roommate, chances are you guys are not going to get along 100 percent of the time, and that you’re not going to end up as best friends forever. It does happen, but those seem to be very rare cases.
Knowing this, don’t go into the relationship thinking everything is going to work out just how you want it to. Disagreements, fights, and misunderstandings are bound to come. But you don’t have to be so hard on your new roommate.
Don’t compare them to the perfect roommate you envision in your head because that’s not who they are. They’re a human being, and like the rest of us, they make mistakes.
We all forget to do the dishes sometimes or get so busy that we have no motivation to clean our side of the room. So don’t be so hard on them, because like you, they have a lot more going on in their life than just the appearance of their room.
Related: Dealing with Overwhelm in College
If you can be understanding and forgiving, then you’ll never have a problem with any of your roommates.
That being said though:
Stand up for yourself
Don’t let your roommate walk all over you or take advantage of you.
If they always have friends over and you can’t study or sleep, don’t be afraid to tell them to keep it down or talk to your roommate privately about it. Just let them know how important it is to you by saying things like, “I really need to study because I have a huge test tomorrow.” Or, “I have to work at 8 am, so I really need to get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
If your roommate ever does anything that concerns you or makes you feel highly uncomfortable, never hesitate to reach out to an RA or hall director. They’re there to help you. If you’re scared to reach out to them because you think our roommate will be really angry, be sure to tell the RA that. You should never have to be scared of the person you live with.
So there you have it, my four holy grail rules to living with total strangers. I’ve made it this far using these, and they haven’t failed yet! I hope you learned something to help you!