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How to Live With a Roommate Who Is Not Your BFF

When you come to Davidson as a freshman you hear stories that make you believe that the Myers-Briggs personality test is a magical assessment that will pair you with your soul mate. You hear the success stories from seniors who are still living with (and loving) their freshman roommates. There’s no doubt in your mind that you and your roommate will be best friends forever and you will never experience a single issue or disagreement. Well, I’m here to say that this doesn’t always happen – not everyone is paired perfectly to a compatible freshman roommate. Thus, I have complied (from personal experiences and with the help of friends) 5 tips on how to make the most out of an unfortunate roommate pairing.

1. Create a schedule based on your preferences

If you’re a person who needs alone time and your roommate is always in the room, make it clear that you value your time alone. Set a schedule based on your daily lives of when it is and is not ok to be in the room together.

2. Communicate your likes and dislikes

If you hate it when your roommate leaves dirty dishes next to the sink or when they leave all the lights on, make sure they know this. Trust me, being vocal about the little things that push your buttons will make it much easier to have (if necessary) a more serious discussion about your biggest pet peeves later on.

3. Be willing to make compromises

I admit it is hard to live with another person especially when you aren’t used to sharing a space. Living with someone else means that at times you’re going to have to make compromises to do things that you aren’t necessarily happy or comfortable with. Going into a situation with this in mind will help when you inevitably have to make a compromise.

4. Don’t delay

I made the mistake of waiting until second semester to have a conversation with my roommate about our differences and issues with one another. This was not the move. Take my advice; if you have a problem with your roommate early on, don’t delay. There is likely a way to solve a small problem early on than waiting months for your tensions to simmer and finally exploding into a heated argument.

5. Smile 

I am a firm believer that a smile and a “hey, how was your day” go along way. It doesn’t take much effort and it’s guaranteed to show your roommate that you’re trying to get along even if you might not be best friends.  

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