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August 30th, 2012,
college roommate advice

During the first few weeks of classes, you and your college are probably getting along great. But as time passes, the newness starts to wear off, and those funny, quirky habits he or she has suddenly start to become really irritating.

Head off future friction at the pass by being vigilant about your roommate’s needs and space (and hopefully by doing so, he or she will return the favor). Whether you’re an only child who has always had a single room, or you’re one of five kids, these are tips everyone can use to get along better with their college roommate.

Be Respectful of Sleep
In a perfect world, you and your roommate have the exact same sleep habits. But the reality is that one of you probably likes to go to sleep at 10:00, while the other likes to stay up playing Xbox until 4:00 a.m.

The best way to handle conflicting sleep schedules is to talk about it. Find out not just when your roommate likes to go to bed, but also if there’s anything particular that bothers him or her – does she care if you leave the TV on all night? Does he hate that you like the crank your AC down to 50 degrees at night? Then, come to a compromise that works for both of you. Maybe you can still stay up late watching movies, but you do it with your lap top and your headphones on so your roommate can catch some Zzz’s.

Don’t Take the First or the Last of Anything
It goes without saying that roommates are going to end up sharing snacks, beverages, and anything else that can fit in your tiny, dorm-size refrigerator. But even so, don’t ever be take the very first or the very last of something your roommate has picked up (unless he or she told you explicitly that it was ok). There’s nothing worse than spending the entire day thinking about that leftover Chinese food or pizza you’re going to eat, only to find out someone else got to it first.

Discuss Visitors
This means visitors of any kind – classmates hanging out to study, high school friends who are visiting for the weekend, or your significant other. Before you bring anyone back to the room or invite them to stay for a few days, shoot your roommate a text and double check first. This might seem excessive, but you never know what kind of day he or she had – maybe your roommate is cramming for an exam or is really upset and needs some alone time. Either way, your room is your sanctuary on campus, and the only place you can really go to get some rest. You and your friends, on the other hand, can always find someplace else to hang out for a few hours.

Understand Triggers
Everyone has things that drive them up the wall. Maybe your roommate could care less if you play Ace of Base at maximum volume, but can’t stand that you never wipe out the microwave. Whatever his or her pet peeves are, know them and be respectful of them. Asking your roommate what bothers him or her the most also gives you a chance to turn the conversation around and mention behaviors that are really hard for your to live with. Above all else, pay attention to anything that goes beyond merely annoying and makes your roommate extremely uncomfortable (such as smoking or drinking).

Clean Up After Yourself
This one should be a no brainer. I know it’s hard for packrats to change their ways entirely to accommodate neat freaks, but at the very least, don’t leave your dirty laundry, used dishes, or half-eaten sandwiches around your dorm room. Being disorganized is one thing, but no one wants to live with Pig Pen. Keeping your side of the room clean and dirt-free can really save you a lot of arguments down the road.

What advice would you give to help college students get along with their roommates? Let us know in the comments below!

  • University Language

    Great advice! This should improve many roommate relationships.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the feedback! :)