The excitement of going to college is over. The high school is left behind and now you’re a proud student. Think that the difficulties you have to face are waiting for you only during the examinations? Fat chance! If you left the family home to study at a university or college, then you most likely live with college roommates on a co-living campus. It’s always cheaper, sometimes more convenient, but far from the fact that it’s simpler. That can be quite challenging.
You can differ in age, characters, biorhythms, areas of interest. All of this will affect your life together. No matter what kind of relationship you may be in and no matter what a pleasant impression you make upon each other at the beginning of communication, don’t think that your living together will be conflict-free.
But don’t worry, it’s going to be OK. I’ll tell you now to have a good roommate relationship (or to improve already existing relationship) – tips to follow, questions to ask, and gifts to give (yes, you’ll probably have to buy gifts). So let’s deal with it.
1. Set the order from the very beginning.
This is the first thing you need to do. I mean the order in everything. Set the boundaries of common and personal space. Separate shelves in the fridge, wardrobe, bathroom, kitchen, and writing tables. A clear duty schedule for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and apartment as a whole will also help make your chummery easier.
By the way, cleaning is one of the most common causes of conflicts between roommates. Surely it’ll be very unpleasant for you if someone scatters handkerchiefs around the room or uses a single chair as a personal wardrobe, throwing off tons of things there, right? That’s it! So don’t forget to clean up after yourself and do it right away.
2. Discuss sharing things.
You’ll hardly stand well with your bunkmate if you take personal things without permission: food products, clothes, cosmetics, dishes, home appliances, etc. Therefore, agree on what things you can take.
The “common fund” can often be an apple of discord, whether it is money, products, or household chemicals. Opinions on what to buy first – expensive coffee or potatoes – may differ radically. Even such a trifle as toilet paper can turn up the heat. If one of you constantly forgets to replenish its supplies, a showdown cannot be avoided.
3. Take care of how often guests come to you.
Just imagine the situation: you’re planning to spend the evening preparing a paper for the most boring and principled professor, and your college flatmate hasn’t considered it necessary to warn about the upcoming visit of cheerful friends… It is not the most pleasant thing.
Always keep in mind to discuss whom and when you can bring to the room. A crowd of unexpected friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, student’s parents, and other relatives can seriously blow up someone’s plans.
4. Respect your flatmate.
Yes, it sounds simple and obvious, but not everyone remembers it. This advice, by the way, works not only on the campus. It must be observed always and everywhere. Your companion is studying something – watch a movie with headphones. If you want to read at night, turn on the desk lamp.
Don’t make noise late at night. It is annoying when you cannot fall asleep because in the next room (or worse, on the next bed) someone laughs out loud or talks (sometimes even earplugs don’t save).
5. Learn to solve the problems.
Dialogue is an excellent tool for preventing and resolving conflict situations. Therefore, if you don’t like something, don’t gloss over the problem. Discuss it at the first opportunity. Don’t expect the roommate to guess the problem himself. Try to do it in the most correct form. Your goal is not to offend your university friend, but to explain to what and why you’re not comfortable.
If you have to listen to a complaint, don’t stomp your feet and hold a grudge. Even if you think that the problem isn’t worth a damn, remember that the person with whom you share the room can suffer because of this.
6. Take it easy!
Be able to turn a blind eye to those shortcomings and inconveniences which you can put up with. I mean don’t kick up a stink and get on nerves. Try to figure out what annoys you – a seat always up on the toilet or someone’s neighborhood in general.
Don’t swear with a roommate if he or she put away your things or occupied your chair. Don’t complain if someone has dirty the stove in the kitchen. In a word, try to pay less attention to trifles. Believe me, when you stop focusing on them, living with roommates will become more pleasant and much easier.
7. Try to make friends with roommates.
No, you don’t have to become best buddies. I’m talking more about friendly relations and cooperation. Take time at least once a week and spend it with your flatmates. If they’re from other countries, then you have a unique opportunity to learn more about their culture and traditions. Common interests will allow you to build a good relationship, go camping, to a cafe, watch a movie or just talk.
Try to help your roommates. Such things as a dinner warmed up for his or her arrival bring together and help to build trusting relationships in which it’s much easier to prevent conflicts.
Of course, the best way to avoid disagreement is to choose the right roommate. Well, or at least get to know him or her better. Let’s see what questions to ask a room-fellow to find common ground.
1. What is your daily regimen? Perhaps this is the most important thing to learn. So, you can find out about the habits of a roommate. Perhaps they coincide – you can attend lectures at the same time or have lunch together. If not, at least try not to stay out of somebody’s way.
2. How do we share responsibilities? Even a neatnik can get along with a person who doesn’t see a problem in a mess if they agree to keep their room in good order in advance. The division of labor is the path to live in harmony.
3. What sleeping conditions do you need? It won’t be a problem even if you go to bed and get up at different times, provided that you know each other’s habits and respect them.Agree to turn off the lights at a certain hour and try not to make noise if one of you is sleeping.
4. How often will your friends come to you? Of course, you cannot forbid your chum to bring friends. But at least you need to prepare for their arrival. Especially when it comes to overnight visitors. Perhaps you can arrange visits of friends and relatives when one of you is not at home – the most ideal option for both.
5. Which thing annoys you the most? It can be anything – from an unwashed teacup to the sounds of a nail file. You may be surprised that such a trifle can annoy someone at all.But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect it.Keep in mind to treat other people the way you want to be treated.
6. What do you need when you’re in a bad mood? Someone will be happy with a cup of tea and an emotional conversation. And on the contrary, someone wants to be alone in such a moment and any attempt to talk will be annoying. Don’t forget to talk about your preferences too.
7. Are you an extrovert or rather an introvert? So it’ll be easier for you to understand each other and respect personal space. It’s okay when one of you wants to be alone with yourself. The main thing is not to forget to tell about it.
8. Do you have any pet peeve? Perhaps some topics in the conversation will be easier to avoid and to nip the conflict in the bud.
9. What is your favorite genre of music, films, etc.? This is the most universal question. Ask it if your conversation comes to a full stop and you don’t know how to continue it. Do you have the same preferences? Great, you hit it off! Like different things? A good way to learn something new!
10. How do you prefer to spend your free time? Ask this question if you want to make friends with a roommate. Maybe you will find common interests and living together will become even more pleasant.
What is the best way to get in good with your room-fellow? Of course, with the help of gifts! It’s extremely difficult to find a person who doesn’t like gifts. We all love them (especially just because of ones)!
If you want to win your flatmate’s favor, you need to pick up a good gift. Of course, it’s better to wait for a special occasion (birthday or Christmas). But you can give a small nice present without a reason. So what if they’re no ideas? What to give?
Choose a bedside lamp and your gift will make the room cozy for you and your Rommie. This is also a very useful thing – the night lamp can be turned on at night when one of you is sleeping.
A table-top game is a perfect gift not only to your roommate but also to yourself because you both can share the joy of owning such a beautiful thing. It’s also a great way to spend time together and get to know each other better.
Does your roommate spend hours watching TV shows? Then this is a win-win option that he or she will appreciate!
You are students. Students always have a lot of work, meetings, and important things that mustn’t be forgotten. So the notebook will be a very necessary thing. It’s a great gift for a creative person or someone who likes to plan everything.
Does your chum like to listen to loud music that annoys you? Meet the simple and polite way to ask to make it quieter! If your roommate just can’t live without music, cool headphones will hit the mark.
Can you come up with something better for a person who has a lot of gadgets? I don’t think so. Be sure that such a gift will definitely be used and won’t just lie in the far corner.
Remember this list when it’s time to choose Christmas presents. See for yourself that giving gifts and delighting your roomies is easier than you think!
Well, sharing a room with someone is not always a nightmare. Keep in mind that any problems can be solved eventually.
Those simple college roommates tips that I mentioned here will help you establish friendships with your roomies and get an unforgettable experience of living together. Most likely, you’ll communicate well not only during your studies at the university but even at graduation.
After all, this is the first real test of our ability to communicate with people and negotiate with those whose points of view on some things doesn’t coincide with ours. So this is a truly invaluable communication experience.
Be polite, attentive, respect the opinions of others and don’t be afraid to set own boundaries. The devil is not so black as he is painted – you’ll see it yourself!