Even if you have siblings (which I don’t), there’s something different about having a roommate. While every dorm is different, this is someone you’ll be sharing a very small space with for roughly eight months. You’re going to want to be on good terms with this person, trust me.
The best piece of advice I can offer someone trying to be a good roommate is be a decent human being. That’s really all it takes. Remember the golden rule? Treat others how you’d like to be treated? Yeah, that applies to roommate situations.
ONE – clean up daily (or at least try to)
Sure, maybe you’re not a neat freak and don’t care that there’s clothes all over your floor. I know I’m guilty of dumping my clothes on the floor after a long day and forgetting about them for ages. But if you’re going to be sharing a small space with someone, it’s important to be considerate and remember that this is their space too. This doesn’t mean everything has to be spotless all the time, but no one likes looking at a messy room. Even something as simple as making your bed in the mornings can make a huge difference.
TWO – give them some space
Even if you love your roommate, sometimes it’s nice to have a little alone time. If you’re the kind of roommate who’s in their room all the time, chances are your roommate is getting a little annoyed. Not everyone will say they need some space (and not everyone needs it), but try to find times when you can let them unwind in the room alone. If you’re studying, why not do it at the library so they can have a Netflix binge? Or if you’re chatting with friends, try heading to the common room every once in awhile. Everyone needs a little dance party every once in awhile so sometimes it’s nice to be able to play music outloud without worrying about bugging your roommate.
THREE – mix up your study space
This goes along with lesson two: if you’re the kind of person who studies in their room all the time, don’t. When you’re studying in a space, people automatically want to remain quiet. People recognize that the space is a chill zone when someone’s studying. When I walk into a library, or see someone studying at a coffee shop, I know that distractions should be kept to a minimum. If a common space is taken up by your studying sometimes, your roommate should be able to deal with that. If you’re always studying in the common space though, that can make it feel like a no distraction zone and make your roommate feel uncomfortable.
FOUR – help them out
So, your roommate has shown up drunk at 2 A.M. when you were trying to sleep. While going to your RA and getting them to take care of them is totally a choice, if you don’t need to get your rest right away taking care of your roommate is such a nice thing to do. The same goes for if they have a cold. Going out and getting them a box of tissues is so thoughtful. Little things like if you know they’re having a rough week and you leave them a little note, or tell them they’re doing awesome. These are things that show you care.
FIVE – knock before entering
This is something my neighbours did in the dorms, and I just thought it was the cutest idea! Especially if you have guests over. No one likes having someone walk in on them while they’re changing and when you share one room, there’s a possibility that’ll happen a lot. If you’re bringing guests into the room on a spur of the moment decision, double check with them that it’s okay to bring someone in before barging into the room with someone while your roommate’s in their PJ’s scrolling through Pinterest.
SEX – set some guidelines BEFORE moving in
When sharing a small space with someone, something is going to get on your nerves. Making guidelines before you move in together (or within the first week) is a great way to try and smooth things over. It’s never too late to have a discussion about the roommate situation, but once the middle of the year hits, making guidelines can feel like a pointed attack on something someone does.
That being said, supporting open communication the whole time you’re living with someone is important. If your roommate doesn’t feel comfortable bringing up their problems with you, that’s something you should work on. Try to foster an environment where neither one of you feels awkward about bringing things up.