Break the Ice With Your New Roommate

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You’ve done the summer assignments, picked out all your bedding and dorm supplies, and learned where to go for all your upcoming classes.  You’re super prepared for your first semester at college! There’s only one unpredictable variable: your new roommate.

For many freshmen, being assigned a roommate is a stressful concept, as it involves sharing close living quarters with a perfect stranger. In order for you both to feel comfortable and “at home” in your dorm, it’s important to break the ice and get to know and respect each other. You don’t need to be best friends – though it often ends up that way – but a mutual understanding is important. Unsure how to get there? We’ve got you:

1. Look for Mutual Interests

Your desk is stocked with vegan snacks, her shelf on the mini-fridge looks like a deli. You spend your free time writing songs, while she prefers to go for bike rides. Yes, your hobbies and interests are different – but you’re bound to have something in common.

Tell her about your interests and ask about hers – you’ll find an overlap! Eventually, you’ll likely learn that you listen to the same “guilty pleasure” music, both find your RA weirdly cute or express mutual distaste for a popular TV series. It all depends on the two of you.

2. Start a TV Show Together

It’s fun to watch a series with a new friend. Not only does it give the two of you something new to discuss after every episode, but it can also help provide you some insight into who they are. Seeing how they react to certain scenarios, finding out what makes them laugh, and what type of (fictional) behavior bothers them can be useful to know as the two of you navigate your cohabitation.

Promise you won’t watch ahead without each other!

3. Learn About Their Life Back Home

The more you understand your roommate, the more you two will get along. This is especially handy if your roommate has any habits that annoy you. After all, if you can interpret someone’s behavior, it’s easier to either forgive or tactfully approach.

Without asking nosy or overly personal questions, inquire about their life back home. If they have photographs or mementos hanging up, you can ask about the stories behind them –  you’ll likely come away from the conversation with a better grasp of the person you live with.  (See also: Starting A New Relationship? Here’s What You Need To Know…)

4. Go For an Adventure

One of the best things about having a roommate? You have an adventure buddy!

When we say adventure, we’re not suggesting a big commitment, like planning a Spring Break trip. We’re referring to a low-key kind of caper, which can be done in a few hours.

Have some extra space in your room? Perhaps the two of you can set off to the local thrift stores in search of the perfect cozy chair. Both love pizza? Search together for the perfect slices in your new town.

5. Be Generous

It’s time to practice the Golden Rule and treat your roommate the way you would like to be treated. If you can tell that she needs help or support with something, and you have the ability to offer that, be generous.

Let’s say your roommate is cramming for his first test of the semester. Instead of crawling into bed and saying, “Good luck studying,” offer him a helping hand. If you can tell he’s starting to fade, give him one the energy shots in your cupboard, or offer to do a snack run. Whether he says yes or no, he’ll appreciate the gesture.

6. Open Up

If your roommate has been opening up to you about their life and experiences, it’s time for you to do the same. You needn’t get overly personal or share things that you aren’t comfortable with, but in order to build a friendship, it’s important to let your roommate know who you really are.

If she tells you a hilarious story about something she did with her high school friends, tell her one about your own adventures back home. If she confesses that she’s afraid of dolls, you can tell her about your secret bird phobia. It’ll create new connections between the two of you.

7. “Co-Parent” a Plant

Not only will a houseplant brighten up your dorm, but it will also give the two of you a low-pressure, shared responsibility that makes you both happy. Visit a garden or DIY store together, and talk to the staff about what kind of plants will thrive in your space, and how to properly care for it.

8. Communicate!

In a small space like a dorm, it’s crucial to speak with your roommate about basic requirements. What kind of environment do they need to fall asleep or study? Do they have allergies or do certain smells that make them sick? When do they go to bed? How much quiet or alone time do they need? Communicate these same needs of yours to them as well.

After these conversations, you’ll be able to find ways to respect each others’ needs in a way that suits you both. That might mean something like getting a comfy sleep mask for the night owl and a set of headphones for the morning person.

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About The Author:

Dibyendu Gandhi is a digital marketer and freelancer Search Marketing Expert where he talks about digital marketing case studies, tips, techniques, and more. Helping startups with digital marketing is what he loves.

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