By Sam Coren
By now many freshmen around the US are starting to get acquainted with their first live-in roommates. Living in close quarters with your peers takes quite a bit of adjustment. For some students, it may be their first time even sharing a room with someone else. In the past we’ve covered some ways to kick things off by suggesting some good questions to ask your new roommate. But what are some things you should avoid doing?
To help you steer clear of college roommate problems (and a lot of unnecessary drama) here are 4 major “no no’s” when it comes to getting to know your new roomie:
1. Becoming your roommate’s shadow.
One sad truth about college roommates that you should accept before even moving in is that not everyone is BFFs with their roommate. Some roommates will get along like two peas in a pod, while others will co-exist the entire semester as two strangers sharing four walls. In the early days extending an invite to go grab a meal at the dining hall to be friendly is an excellent way to spark some conversation and get more familiar with the person you’ll be living with for the next few months.
However, you should recognize that college is a time to meet lots of new people and you shouldn’t solely rely on your roommate for all your socialization. It’s important that you and your roommate have time to go off and independently start your own social circles. Don’t be “that guy” who’s always inviting himself along to whatever your roommate is going to by default – spread your own wings!
2. Talking about your religion or politics non-stop.
The modern college campus offers plenty of outlets for students to share their diverse interests and beliefs. But when you’re living with someone else you have to understand that they might not necessarily share the same worldview as you. While some students have no issue having a mature, intellectual conversation about their philosophical or political beliefs, some find these subjects to be a less than desirable way to break the ice.
If it’s clear your roommate isn’t engaging well then it’s probably a good idea to find some different things to talk about. No one wants to feel like they’re constantly being preached or campaigned to at all times where they live.
3. Using their things without asking.
People have different levels of comfort when it comes to their personal possessions and space. In most cases it’s best to ask permission than to assume it’s ok for you to use or borrow something from your roommate. If you start using their things without asking and they will take notice chances are it will whittle away any trust they have in you.
You’ll eventually learn soon enough what things are off limits vs. what can be communally used. However in the beginning of the semester it’s always just safer to ask – even if it’s just sending them a quick text.
4. Being inconsiderate about bringing guests back to the room.
Socializing in your dorm room is part of the fun of living on campus. However, it’s important to recognize that your roommate might not always be in the best mood or state of mind to deal with your guests. Whether it’s the girls from down the hall, the dude you want to ask out on a date, or some friends from class – it’s always a good idea to give your roommate a heads up if visitors are coming.
In most cases your roommate will be fine with it and may even want to meet your friends. Other times your roommate might be sick or need some quiet time to study and you should respect that. If you find that you and your roommate are constantly at odds with the guest situation, you might want to consult your RA to figure out the best way to mediate the situation.
Photo: Tulane Public Relations