Living with anyone can be a challenge, especially 18-year-old girls in close quarters who have never had to share space with anyone. Here’s how to head off trouble from the start. First, adjust your expectations. Rarely do roommates end up being best friends. Your goal should be to get along, respect and like each other.
Next, be aware of the most common problems that arise between roommates and talk about them before you’re actually living together. If one of you is messy and the other is a clean freak decide on the front end how you’re going to deal with it. For example, Messy Meagan agrees to keep her mess confined to her bed, her desk and her side of the room and if she doesn’t OCD Dede can put items that end up in her orderly space back to the messy side of the room. OCD agrees not to complain about two weeks worth of Starbucks cups on Messy ’s desk and Messy agrees not to get annoyed when OCD rakes the pile of clothes that fill the walkway back to Messy’s side of the room.
But I’ve never met my roommate, how do I know if she’s a clean freak? There are plenty of roommate compatibility tests online, but I think it’s more valuable to just sit down and discuss things with your roommate. If you can’t do it face to face then do it with facetime. Texting is not the place for these discussions. Communication is key.
Start by asking open-ended questions that facilitate dialogue. Here are just a few:
Are you neat or messy?
How do you feel about borrowing each other’s things, or eating the last cookie?
Dorm Décor Advice: Even if you both decide you’re fine with borrowing each other’s things, consider an “Always ask first” policy with the understanding that if the answer is “I’d rather you not use it” the asker agrees to not take it personally. This will help avoid big blow-ups in the future.
What about overnight guests? Whether it’s friends from high school in town for the big game or a romantic involvement you need to talk about it.
Sleep? Sleep is a huge commodity in college. Despite the best intentions of roomies this one seems to be a bigger problem than you might think. If you require a dark and quiet room in order to catch some z’s you might want to start sleeping with a sleep mask and a sound machine before you move into the dorm.
Realize that you are going to get on each other’s nerves. When this happens, don’t gossip about your roommate. They always find out and it’s tough to put the relationship back together. If you need to vent call your mom or your friend that went to different college.
Last, be prepared to give each other a break. You’re not perfect either.