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Dorm Life: How to Have a Great Roommate Relationship

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iStock_000028700004SmallMoving somewhere new is always tough. Moving into close quarters with a complete stranger in a completely new atmosphere, all while taking on a full class schedule? That’s one of the weird-but-accepted parts of college life.

Going to college for the first time (or getting a new roommate for a later year) is always an adventure. It’s now September, which means you have likely met and hung out with your new roommate. You may have already experienced the sinking feeling the first time your roommate ate the last of your food or didn’t do their dishes for five days straight.

It doesn’t have to be hard to get along with a new person in a new living situation. Even if you are two people from completely different ends of the country, each with your own quirks and personality traits, you can certainly get along with your new roommate and be friendly.

The best thing to remember is that you need to be using assertive communication when speaking with your new roommate. Always take ownership of your statements, using “I” instead of “you” to be sure they know this is how you feel. Explain your expectations for living with this new person and have them explain their expectations to you. If a situation pops up which one of you is not OK with, it’s time to chat again and make some changes.

With new roommates, it is essential to state what you want from the start of the school year until you both move out. Talk things through in a cordial way; you need to find a middle ground without being passive or being extreme. This means no yelling, no name-calling, don’t try to read your new roommates mind and don’t make any assumptions before they get a chance to explain themselves.

Instead of being negative, it will be important for each side to listen to one another, be honest, apologize if either side has done anything wrong. If things get too heated, take a time out, take a walk outside and revisit the situation in an hour or so.

It may be difficult to give this level of trust to someone you just met or are just getting to know. However, you’ll be living with them for the school year; give them the benefit of the doubt and try to form an understanding. Treat your new roommate or roommates like you would want to be treated and the situation will likely go very well.

College is one of the best times of your life. Don’t let a bad roommate situation ruin part of your time. Keep your conversations open, be assertive and treat each other well.