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Not getting along with your roommate? Don’t worry. It’s perfectly normal. When it’s your first time with a new roomie, knowing what not to say or do can be tricky. You see, roommate relationships are similar to all other relationships. They require understanding, respect, a concerted set of goals, and to some extent, a great sense of humour.

If you and your roommate don’t share any of these values, you’re not going to be compatible. However, that doesn’t mean you should stress yourself looking for some other student residences to stay because, with a little effort, your relationship can turn from a cold one to one of the most fun, rewarding, and educational experiences of your life.

How to be Friends with your Roommate

Take note. Friendship is a result of meaningful interactions. Can you engage with someone in a way that makes them feel at ease? He or she will end up your friend. The following steps should help you initiate a friendly relationship with your roommate:

  • Get to Know Them

The best way to understand the person you’re dealing with is by getting to know who they are. Make an effort to learn about each other’s family, traditions, culture, hometown, etc. That way, you’ll easily know your roommate’s likes, dislikes, as well as lifestyle.

You may feel some initial awkwardness, and it’s normal. A 2018 study realized that conversion patterns take up to a month to have a comfortable rhythm, so don’t feel put off by moments of awkwardness or silence. Keep asking genuine questions and focus on those that further your conversation. That’s how to get along with your roommate in college the first time you meet.

  • Communicate Openly and Honestly

It’s paramount that you learn to express yourself clearly. 90% of conflicts in relationships occur due to a lack of honest communication. So when something is bothering you, don’t hesitate to speak up, but be sure to sound positive and polite when you do it.

Remember, listening is another vital aspect of communication. Avoid doing all the talking and give your roommate space to express his or her concerns. Refrain from talking over or interrupting other people. That’s how to talk to your roommate in a way that makes them feel comfortable being around you.

  • Be Empathetic

At times, your roommate may appear like some kind of villain out to torture you as you can’t seem to understand why they do what they do. However, no matter how incompatible you think the two of you are, your roommate is merely a person with feelings, hopes, and dreams, like you.

As such, always consider their perspective and where they’re coming from. Recognize that he or she probably thinks you’re doing things the wrong way, and you probably are – at least partially. So avoid judging your roommate and show care and concern while interacting with them.

With the above steps, you and your roommate are sure to end up friends before long. So how do you keep the relationship going?

How to Stay Friends with your Roommate

  • Make a Roommate Agreement

We are all fallible, illogical humans. No matter how much you try to avoid it, disagreements will arise. That’s why you ought to come up with some ground rules as soon as you start getting used to each other. Mind you, the agreement doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It also need not be a formal, notarized, or watermarked document.

You need to create some simple standards that both you and your roommate are willing to abide by. Let the agreement also include ways of resolving violations of the standards and chores division. Agreements are an excellent way of setting boundaries between you and your roommate to help avoid ruining your friendship.

  • Stay Aware of your Actions

If it’s your first time living with someone, it can be difficult to identify your own actions as a source of annoyance or discomfort. After all, you’ve been doing things a certain way for years, and no one has had any issues. However, some of those things that appear normal to you might be what is actually making your roommate uncomfortable.

Always examine your actions and how they affect your roomie. It’s pretty simple stuff in practice. Just do to him or her only what you’re comfortable getting done to you. For example, if your roommate is busy studying, make an effort to reduce noise. If they are asleep, keep the lights off and use a torch instead. Such simple acts of kindness can go a long way in making you and your roommate get along.

  • Share

Sharing is caring. There isn’t a better way of showing your roommate that you care about them than sharing. That said, be sure to offer only what you’re comfortable sharing so you don’t get used or your actions become a burden too heavy to bear.

All the same, sharing helps you learn more about a person and creates shared goals as well as trust among new friends. Sharing will also lower living costs for both you and your roommate, in addition to creating more opportunities for shared activities. That’s how to stay friends with your roommate.

  • Consider it a Business Partnership

Your aim shouldn’t be becoming best friends with your roomie or hanging out a bunch. This is a person you’re likely to stay with temporarily, be it for a short or long time. So be realistic about the whole experience.

The main goal is to save money (for both of you) while making efficient use of limited space – essentially making your roommate relationship more of a business arrangement. As long as you both live pleasantly and respect each other, it’s all you ever need. So don’t take it personally if your roommate appears to be ignoring you or if they lock their doors often. Give them all the space they need.

  • Respect Boundaries

Do you have visitors coming over? Let your roommate know well in advance. Nothing can be as irritating as having to put up with unexpected visitors while all you were hoping for was some much-needed rest. Thus, ensure your visitors don’t overstay their invitations.

Make an effort to be tidy. It’s always good that you clean up after yourself. If you spill something in a shared space, don’t procrastinate on cleaning it up. Something so simple can lead to huge disagreements.

Speaking of disagreements…

What to do when you can’t Get Along with your Roommate

The truth is some people are difficult to deal with, and it’ll always be that way. It has nothing to do with how you behave or communicate. Some people have no respect for people’s boundaries and always act as if you’re inferior to them. If your roommate is any of these people, it’s vital to know how to handle them.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Appeal to a Third Party

This remedy is best suited to extreme situations, especially when you find yourself experiencing many bad days because of your roommate. If your roommate is unrelenting in his or her bad behaviour or appears to harbour disdain against you, don’t hesitate to take action to protect yourself.

One of the best ways to do this is by informing your Resident Advisor (RA). Your RA has experience in mediating conflicts and will advise you on the best way forward. Try not to be accusing when explaining your situation. Instead, focus on presenting your problem as objectively as you can, then listen well to the RA’s advice.

  • Address Disagreements Respectfully and Openly

Think about it. Dealing with a roommate problem is like having a cold. If you deal with it early and give the necessary attention, it’s no big deal. Ignore the cold, and you’ll end up with the worst downtime.

Whether you’re dealing with a difficult person or not, be sure to resolve conflicts quickly. That way, nothing grows from a simple disagreement to a full-blown grudge. Remember, respect in communication is essential when addressing conflicts. The tone you choose to use in times of strife can make or break any relationship.

  • Talk in Person

If your roommate is uncooperative, you’ve probably asked yourself, how do I stop being annoyed with my roommate? Don’t rush to make decisions when you’re enraged. Take a pause. Breath. Calm down.

Don’t vent on social media or text your roommate to protest their actions. Your roommate can misinterpret you when only reading your words as they don’t see your body language or facial expressions. This is why you ought to have a face-to-face encounter. When you meet, focus on the problem at hand, i.e. the behaviour and not the person. Also, let your roomie agree/disagree with you until you come to an understanding.

It’s Nothing but a Learning Experience

You’re going to college to learn, but most of the learning will occur outside the classroom. In fact, college is an internship for adulting as you still have a large safety net and support system. The best skill you can learn during this time is how to deal with different people.

Your roommate experience, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn about empathy, sharing, communication, and conflict resolution. Take it in your stride.

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