Living With a Roommate
Communication is the key to any successful living situation. Spending as much time as you will with your roommate is not an easy task. There will be times when you need to be alone, times when you'll want some quiet time and times when you want to invite friends over. In any situation, make sure you talk to your roommate to let him or her know what you need. If you need time to study, ask if it's okay to turn down the stereo. Don't assume that your roommate can read your mind. Throughout this section there are several questions and situations which you and your roommate should read and discuss. Communication between you and your roommate is important in developing a happy and healthy relationship. To open the lines of communication, consider answering the following questions and sharing your responses with your roommate(s) early in the semester.
- When do you go to sleep and get up in the morning?
- Can you sleep with the lights on/window open/music playing?
- At times will you study in the room? When?
- Is alcohol allowed in the room?
UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER
No two people are alike no matter how close you may be. That's what makes the world so interesting! When getting to know your roommate, talk about your background, interests, and your likes and dislikes. This will enable the two of you to better understand each other. Below are a few statements for your roommate and you to read over and discuss:
- The way you act when you're working under pressure. . .
- When you're depressed, you act like. . .
- When you'd rather be alone, you. . .
- The way you react to most people when you meet them is. . .
- Something that will usually cheer you up is. . .
- When you get angry you. . .
- Some things that make you tense are. . .
- You become easily annoyed by. . .
This can be one of the main areas where problems can arise between roommates. From day one, talk about your styles of living. A neat-fanatic living with someone who picks their clothes off the floor every two weeks could cause a real problem. Set up some ground rules early in the semester and divide housekeeping tasks evenly. If your roommate isn't doing his or her share, talk about it as soon as possible. The following questions may be helpful to discuss:
- How important is a clean room?
- Who should do what jobs?
- How often should we clean the room?
It is absolutely crucial that you and your roommate come to an agreement about visitors. You may like to study in your room and get to bed early. Your roommate may like to invite friends over in the evening and study in the library late at night. These preferences need to be discussed and compromises made.
Your roommate might have a friend who spends more time in your room than you'd like. Talk about it. If you don't, your resentments will only build and become bigger than they need to be. Remember, you have the right to say no to guests. Be considerate and understanding towards each other. Try discussing the following questions with your roommate:
- How many guests will be allowed at one time?
- How do you feel about guests of same/opposite sex?
- What time would you prefer guests vacate the room on weekdays/weekends?