Sometimes it would be nice if life was a little bit more like a television series. You graduate high school and go to college with your friends. You all end up rooming together or you get a new amazing roommate who becomes your best friend for life. Unfortunately we live in the real world and it’s important to have excellent coping skills. Follow these guidelines to avoid disaster.
Don’t create any assumptions.
This goes for positive and negative assumptions. You may end up having the ideal roommate or you may just survive living with them. If you put them in one category or another ahead of the time when you get to know them, you run the risk of taking it the wrong direction before you even begin.
Possess realistic expectations.
You aren’t living with your family anymore. Things are going to be different in positive and negative ways. It can be hard to live with anyone. Chances are the person you end up sharing a dorm with isn’t going to do things specifically the way you do. They might be messier or neater than you. They may be a social butterfly or a total bookworm who demands a silent dorm. There are many different dorm personalities and you have to be accessible.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate.
Whenever there is an issue, talk about it. Make sure you establish an open door policy with your dorm mate. Don’t be the bothersome person who has to have a sit down, heart to heart for every minor thing, but be real with yourself and your roommate on the issues you can live with or can’t. Making sure each of you is aware of the other’s expectations goes very far.
Be prepared to compromise.
You may want things to be a certain way but if it creates tension you have to ask yourself how valuable the issue is. If you have a test to study for and your roommate just doesn’t seem to understand your need for absolute silence think about going to a different location to study. If you both adopt a spirit of compromise it’s a lot easier to solve minor differences.
Sharing a dorm in college is a great part of the college experience. Think of it as training for future living arrangements. Even the best of friends or people in love can suddenly find themselves reeling when they make the leap to cohabitation. Learning to be a good roommate at college and cope with differences is valuable training that can save heartache and therapy money later.