Why You Should Communicate with Your Roommate before School Starts

By Sarah Hiemstra on May 11, 2018

There are few relationships quite as complex as that of roommates. You can barely know a person and suddenly, you are sleeping a mere foot away from each other.

The transition to living with someone else after having your own room can be difficult. However, there are certain steps you can take to make it a little easier. You might even find yourself with a new friend at the end of it all.

Get to Know Each Other

Learning a bit of your roommate's background before you get to school can make a huge difference during the first few weeks of the semester. A couple of texting conversations can help you learn about their family, educational background, passions and little things like their favorite movies.

You probably have more in common than you'd expect. Finding common ground can help foster open communication and start the relationship off on the right foot.

Room Setup

A great deal of stress can occur on move-in day. You're hauling boxes up and down stairs, entering a new environment and navigating emotional parents.

Communicating about how you want to set up your room can alleviate a great deal of that stress. Some people prefer bunk beds, while others like to loft their beds on separate ends of the room. The opportunities are endless. The key is to find what works best for both you and your roommate. If you agree upon a model, you can show up prepared on your move-in day.

Pet Peeves

Everybody has their quirks. Being open and honest about what pushes your buttons is immensely helpful as you embark on your first semester of living together. Perhaps you prefer a quieter environment for studying. It might bother you if your roommate likes to study with loud music playing.

Sometimes the smallest issues can lead to the largest conflict. During my freshman year, my roommate and I got into an argument over the scent of an air freshener. We spent a couple weeks with one of us unplugging it and the other plugging it back in. It was the worst kind of passive-aggressiveness. Communicating from the get-go can prevent situations like a silly air freshener blowing out of proportion.

Expectations

Evaluate what you are expecting from living with your roommate. Do you dream of being best friends? Do you want to simply coexist? Most relationships fall in between those two categories.

Communicating opens the door to making your life a lot easier. Furthermore, talking about things like sleep schedules and cleanliness practices are huge. Have a conversation about what time you like to wake up and go to bed. Making a cleaning schedule can also be very helpful.

The Takeaway

Roommate relationships are challenging but can also be so rewarding. For me, I've had roommates become my best friends and roommates where we just lived together for a season. Every experience is different. Try your best to have an open mind.

Begin the semester in the best way possible by taking the time to communicate and invest in your new roommate relationship before school starts. It will set you up for success.

Category: Student Perspectives