Living with A Roommate

When I first came to college, I lived in a residence hall with a roommate. It was a suite-style room, so the bathroom connected us to two girls on the other side. The experience of living with a roommate wasn’t new to me because during the beginning of my life I shared a room with my brother and sister. It was, however, new to live with a virtual stranger. There were things about it that I enjoyed and things I didn’t enjoy. It was a growth experience for me that I’m thankful I stuck to.

There were many realizations that I came to during that year. There are a few things I feel people must understand or come to terms with before deciding to live with someone else in any environment (dorm or apartment):

A major thing to think about before making that decision is that it won’t always be easy having a roommate. Sometimes you just want to be alone, but someone else is there. You can’t just ask them to leave because it’s their space as well. It’s hard to navigate certain situations and it might be awkward if you don’t know what type of relationship you want to have with your roommate.

The relationship you have must be set while coming up with boundaries. It may seem weird, but roommates are not obligated to be friends and that’s something that should be established between the two or more of you. Boundaries must be established. Boundaries are rules that you each have about yourselves and your personal space. Whether that be not talking about certain subjects while around each other or what time guests should leave the house.

There must be a compromise between those living in the same space. When coming up with rules, like who will clean what and who's paying what bill, there should be a compromise involved. No single person should be making all the rules. It creates a dictatorial atmosphere in what should be a comfortable and safe atmosphere.

There will be fights, it’s inevitable. No one is perfect. Sometimes you or your roommate will be having a bad day and that may manifest as anger. Sometimes your roommate will drink the last of the orange juice you’d been thinking about all day. Fights happen and are a normal part of life.

Ultimately, living with someone else entails thinking about someone other than yourself. It’s not just about you because someone else is in your living space with you. Now, you must think about your actions and how they might affect that other person. You can’t just bring a dog home without consulting with your roommate, what if they’re allergic; or decide to throw a party without letting them know because what if their parents visit?

Keeping all these things in mind should make moving in and living with someone an easier transition.