Introverts who are worried about living with a roommate.Excited to leave your parent’s home and head off to college? Of course, you are! But as excited as you may be, there’s one thing that lots of students worry about: living with your first roommate. Just the thought of living with a strange roommate can be a bit intimidating—especially if you’re an introvert.
But, it doesn’t have to be a scary, stressful situation. There are lots of things you can do to make it better. Now is the time to be excited, not nervous!
To help you through the transition, here’s our introvert’s guide to living with your first college roommate.
Regardless of your personality or the type of roommate you have, it’s always good to set a few basic house rules.
Simple things like cleaning the bathroom and making too much noise can turn into big problems if you don’t establish some rules right off the bat.
Create a cleaning schedule that you can both agree on. Make some rules regarding quiet time and study time. Set some boundaries when it comes to having guests over and letting friends stay the night.
As an introvert, it may be in your nature to take a back seat and let others dominate the conversation. But when you live with someone, you have to assert yourself a bit.
Don’t let your extroverted roommate turn your dorm into a party room if you don’t want it that way. Set a few ground rules so that neither of you feels like a guest in your own room.
You and your roommate don’t have to be best friends. But if you want to have a comfortable living situation, you’ll at least need to get along. And getting along is much easier to do if you find some common interests.
Perhaps you both love watching Netflix shows. Maybe you both like to work out at the gym or run around the track. Or, maybe you just both enjoy the same off-campus restaurants.
Look for commonalities and try to spend at least an hour each week doing that activity together. Baby steps like these may help bring you out of your shell and could even lead to a genuine friendship.
This can be a tough one for some introverts, but saying what you feel is the key to a successful roommate relationship. With poor communication, your relationship probably won’t progress. With no communication, your relationship will never get off the ground.
When you need your quiet time, let your roomie know. If they come home late and wake you up in the middle of the night, talk about it the following morning.
The trick is never to let problems fester. When issues arise, have the courage to discuss them right away.
Established rules can prevent a lot of these issues. But if your roomie isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, you’ll need to speak up. If the situation feels unmanageable, you can always ask your RA for advice.
There’s nothing wrong with being shy or introverted. But, don’t use that as an excuse to ignore your roommate. Isolating yourself will only make them feel unwelcome in their own dorm.
Instead, try to have daily conversations and find ways to spend time together. If the two of you can at least communicate, it will boost the mood of your apartment or dorm.
Both you and your roommate have equal claim to the space. So, you must be flexible and share the room equally. That’s the only way you’ll ever be able to enjoy your living situation.
It’s fine if you need lots and lots of alone time—but you can’t expect your roommate to live in silence. Find a place outside your room (like a coffee shop) where you can go to be alone when you need to.
It’s good to have set quiet hours, especially late at night. However, your roommate has every right to make a little bit of noise now and then. It’s their room, too.
Even if you like things a particular way, everyone has the right to behave how they want in their own room.
No one roommate should make all the rules—you have to be able to compromise!
There’s a good chance your class schedules and work schedules differ. If quiet time is what you crave, learn your roommate’s schedule so you’ll know when you’ll have the room to yourself.
This will be helpful for both of you. When your roommate is out, you can have all the silence and solitude you want. And when you’re not in the room, they can blast their music, have friends over, be as noisy as they’d like.
It’s also helpful to talk about where you’re going at certain times. Maybe your roommate belongs to a student organization that sounds interesting to you. If so, ask them if you can join them!
If you let them, your roomie might be able to bring you out of your shell (even just a little bit).
It takes time to get used to living with a roommate, so don’t worry if you don’t hit it off the first day. But, following these tips will make it easier for the two of you to get along.
To make the most of the situation, set up some house rules. Try to find a common interest and spend some time doing things together, either in your dorm or around campus.
Learn each other’s schedules so you can plan for alone time. Be flexible in your expectations and, above all else, learn to communicate with courtesy and respect.
Follow these five tips, and you’ll see that living with a college roommate is much easier than it seems!
Aaron Hunt is the Property Manager for Prime Place Lincoln, a student housing community near the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.