College Roomates

Whatever your roommate situation, keep in mind these initial rules of engagement.

Take a Chance on Me

Whatever your roommate situation might be, here are a few initial rules of engagement to keep in mind:

  • Be friendly. Whether you're usually outgoing or keep to yourself, make an effort initially to talk to your roommate, to relate, and to just hang out together. You don't have to try to be friends, but making an effort to be nice will pay off.
  • Give each other space. This is tough if you're literally sharing one room rather than a small apartment where each of you can have some privacy. If your roommate comes back from a shower, maybe you can step out for a few minutes so that he or she can change. Or if you need to make a private phone call, ask if your roommate won't mind giving you a few minutes. These are small gestures, but the effort counts, and your roommate might follow suit.
  • Don't try to do everything together. If you click with your roommate, then by all means, hang out, go to orientation, and sit together in the dining hall. But don't force it – you'll have a long time to get used to and to get to know each other. Too much time together initially can potentially backfire.
In general, recognize that you don't need to be best friends, or even friends, with your roommate. If you are, great, but if not, all you need is someone you can get along with.

Navigating Your Freshman Year From Navigating Your Freshman Year by Students Helping Students®. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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