In the next year, you’ll develop a myriad of relationships. One of the most important relationships you will create is with your future roommate. Living with your roommate does not mean that he or she will be your best friend. A few people, like myself, find their roommate becomes their best friend.
Very often, someone will not see their roommates for several days. Some will barely be friends. Regardless of the situation, communication is key to a healthy roommate relationship.
Here are some ideas to develop your roommate relationship.
- Contact your roommate- Here’s where you should start a conversation with them. Starting with text or email is probably more comfortable than talking on the phone to a stranger. However, phone conversation are much more personable and efficient. Personally, my roommate and I started off with small talk: hobbies, sports, and music and movie preferences. We kept up friendly communication every couple of days, so when we officially meet, it wasn’t too awkward. Here are some things to keep in mind. In person, it was much easier and more relaxed to talk and share about deeper issues, such as family and personal struggles.
Obviously, it is up to your discretion how much to share, but sharing, even just a little, can create a stronger relationship.
Also, it is important to share with your roommate how you tick. For example, if you are a morning person, tell your roommate. He or she may be a night owl. Discuss. How will this work for you? You may have to leave out clothes in the morning as to not bother their sleeping schedule or do homework in a different location.
- Hang with your roommate- It is important to maintain companionship and cordiality with your roommate. Get to know your roommate just a bit more. Hang at Waffle House or El Rancho. Play racquetball or Frisbee on the quad. Pop in a film and watch together. Make it as long or short as it needs to be. For some people, this might be difficult or exceedingly uncomfortable. That’s okay. A polite exchange of greetings may have to suffice.
- Encourage- Just like you, you roommate could use all the encouragement they can get. If they are facing a personal struggle, ask to listen and ask to help. This will look different for everyone, and will need to be explored to understand how to best encourage your roommate. Some may like quality time, or a small gift. Some will want you to leave them alone or not to even bother. Regardless, I find it best to respond as positively as I can. I also want to be encouraged by my roommate and, if I feel the need, I will tell him that.
- Problems? Talk out your problems. Don’t hide them. This may significantly damage your relationship. Sit together and rationalize your frustrations. If the problems are substantial enough, address the issue with your R.A. (The person on your hall/suite that in charge of creating community with your hall/suitemates and in charge of enforcing the rules)
I believe it is vital to say that not all roommates will be best friends. In fact, you may not even have a friendship. That is definitely okay. Compatibility is more important in a roommate relationship.