Roommates can be a wonderful thing to have during university. They help keep monthly payments affordable, can be your first social link in a new town, may become lifelong friends, or at the very least, be professional connections later down the road. However, living with anyone can present challenges along the way. To help you navigate these challenges, check out these six tips for getting along with your roommate.
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The foundation for any successful relationship is respect, and part of respecting someone is getting to know them. That doesn’t mean you should rush to ask them a million questions upon your first meeting. Instead, allow your relationship to develop naturally, paying close attention to things that may create tension or misunderstanding if not addressed effectively. This can include information related to culture, religion, lifestyle, diets, and more. For example, know if your roommate is a vegetarian before being offended that they won’t try your homemade burgers. Finding out relevant information about your roommate can help you understand where they’re coming from and to be respectful of how they might differ from you.
As the saying goes, “good fences make good neighbors.” Knowing your roommate’s boundaries and conveying your own is an integral part of getting to know them. For instance, agreeing on quiet times can be important for both of you succeeding at your schoolwork. Another thing that often comes up between roommates is how to handle chores and the level of cleanliness expected in shared areas. Maybe your roommate is okay with dishes piling up on furniture, but you’re not. You both need to communicate these expectations. After all, you can’t expect your roommate to read your mind, and you can’t get upset if there’s no follow-through on something you haven’t addressed.
Once you’ve set boundaries, things still might be forgotten or overlooked. Give your roommate the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t malicious. Like you, they have a whole world of responsibilities, worries, deadlines, and work to focus on, so something may have just simply slipped their mind. And they’ll probably keep doing it until you talk to them about it. Maybe it’s something as simple as playing their music too loud after quiet hours. Instead of ignoring the issue until it boils over and you lash out, respectfully alert them to the fact that there’s an issue and ask if they have any problems with the initial boundaries that were laid out. This way, you both are invited to communicate your thoughts and opinions constructively.
In addition to not avoiding discussing issues, know how to discuss them effectively. While leaving passive-aggressive notes will not do you any favors, texting can also be an ineffective way of communicating. It may be nice to send each other friendly texts, but more critical discussions should be held in person, face-to-face. It’s easy for misunderstandings to happen when it’s over text. Even if you type something out with the best intentions, there’s no guarantee that it will be read that way. Talking in person means that they can read your tone and body language, and any issues can be dealt with in real-time.
When you’re sharing an apartment with someone, space doesn’t just refer to common areas such as the kitchen and living room. As part of defining boundaries, you should have discussed how each of you feels about having guests over and at what times. You should also be aware of each other’s schedules. If you know they have an early Wednesday class, don’t throw a late-night party on Tuesday. And while you may be watching television in your room, be mindful that sound carries, and it could be carrying right to their bedroom. While living together means that you’ll both have to make concessions for these things, it also means that you should be more respectful of how you might be impacting one another. To help give you and your roommates more space, Athens Ridge offers expansive floor plans to choose from.
While you might become lifelong friends with your roommate, it’s also okay if you don’t. You don’t have to get along 100% of the time or like all of the same things. It’s okay to get some space from them by going out with other friends or enjoying community amenities with other residents. Respecting one another doesn’t mean that you have to be fake or force a connection that just isn’t there. While communities do their best to match you with like-minded individuals, the ins and outs of your relationship are unique and personal. Just remember to enjoy what you can and learn from the rest!