College may be the first time that many people are sharing their room and their personal space. This can be very stressful. Simply expressing this concern to your roommate can help to alleviate this stress and make you both aware of that potential problem area. It is very important to have open lines of communication so that things can be resolved and dealt with before they get out of control. Click here for more information about communicating with your roommate.
1. Common Belongings
Discuss, in advance, which large items you will each bring and what you will share. Televisions, Micro-fridges and printers are items that you will usually only need one of. Coordinate these things before you move in to avoid showing up with multiple items.
2. Sleep, Study and Social Habits
Not everyone goes to sleep and wakes up at the same time. Your schedules are going to be different and you need to respect that.
If your roommate needs to study and you have some free time to watch TV or listen to music there needs to be an understanding of how this will be handled. One of you may want to go to a lounge or the library or your friend’s room, or perhaps headphones can be worn to eliminate the problem of noise.
Everyone is going to have friends over at one time or another. It can be helpful to set up some ground rules on the hours that guests are acceptable. This room is shared and both of you need to be comfortable in it.
3. Potential Areas for Conflict
- Cleaning - some roommates are fanatic about cleaning while others prefer a more relaxed approach to straightening up. Realize that there are differences here and try to come up with a happy medium. One thing that may help is to come up with a cleaning plan, especially if you share a common area or bathroom.
- Sharing - many arguments arise out of one roommate assuming an item is a shared good. Make these lines clear right from the start and if there is ever a question, always err on the side of caution and ask for permission.
- You - be aware of your own quirks and habits. You are new to this roommate and they do not know you very well yet. Or you may have been friends before, but living together is a new experience. Always be respectful of your roommate and the needs and expectations that he or she has of you. Be flexible. Living with a roommate can be hard work but it can also be very rewarding.
4. How to Handle Conflict
Before there is a problem that needs to be discussed it may be helpful to work out a plan for dealing with potential problems. Confront issues as they happen and don’t allow them to build up over time.