There is no telling what type of roommate you’re going to inherit once you get to college. Of course, some students hope to room with their best friend from high school, but some colleges don’t offer that as an option. (And sometimes that can be too close for comfort or make it harder to meet new people!) Rooming with someone you don’t know can be a great learning experience. Unfortunately you might get stuck with a slacker who never cleans their side of the room, or you may have to put up with the bossy straight-A student who calls lights out at exactly 8:00 pm every night. Whatever the case may be, there are ways to get along with your new roommate—or at least tolerate them!
Related: Video: 3 Tips for Getting Along With Your Roommate
1. Get to know each other
And when I say “get to know each other,” I mean dig deep into their social media to start. If it seems like an invasion of privacy, just know that your roomie is probably doing the same thing to you! There’s nothing wrong with getting to know someone before you meet them in person; it just gives you a general sense of what kind of person they are.
If you look at their Instagram, you may see that they are interested in photography or love to hang out with their friends. Or they could be the type to party every night and upload not-so-flattering photos. Their Twitter may say something different entirely. From any platform, you’ll be able to tell who you’re dealing it and what you may need to look out for.
Once you connect on social media, you can discuss what each of you would like to bring to the room. Room decorations like a rug or bathroom essentials like toilet paper (if you have a private bathroom) are a few things you may want to split and wouldn’t be a big deal to share.
2. Talk about boundaries
At my college, the RAs (Resident Assistants) on each floor makes their residents sign a boundary form that helps the roommates establish what they want and don’t want concerning the room. You can talk about things such as:
- What time you want “lights out” (bedtime)
- If you’d like to borrow each other’s items or not
- How to communicate with each other if there’s a problem
- How to communicate in advance about room guests
You can’t go wrong by setting some ground rules for living together. Get a good idea for how your roommate thinks about certain things and you’ll know how to communicate effectively with him or her if you’re ever uncomfortable with something.
Related: How to Make Your Own College Roommate Agreement
3. Get out and do something
Once you’re settled in your room and decorated it as fancy or grungy as you can get it, ask your roomie if they’d like go out and grab a bite to eat. Try to do something you both like and you’ll start to bond. You don’t have to be super-great friends with your roommate, but it’s better to have a tolerable relationship with him or her. (You’ll be living together for the next nine months, for crying out loud!)
Starting with these simple guidelines could help lead to the start of a great relationship with your new living partner. Get friendly and make memories!