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How To Get Along With Your College Roommate

Updated on May 24, 2013
Living in the dorms is exciting! Just learn how to live harmoniously with others!
Living in the dorms is exciting! Just learn how to live harmoniously with others! | Source

It was my first time having a roommate when I attended college. I never had to room with anyone, there were no siblings to intrude in my own personal space when I was growing up. So when I finally had to room with someone at the university dorms, I didn't really know what to expect.

Based on my own experiences, we will talk about ground rules regarding the room, visitors, and tips on how to live with your roommate harmoniously.

My roommate was very nice and respectful despite of our many personal differences. He lives his life in a very different way than I do. I was never used to recycling, composting, having a plant in my room, or someone waking up very early, earlier than I do. Everything was so foreign to me but it all became a learning experience.

When we met, we agreed to set some ground rules. The first night, we talked about what we prefer, what we don't like, what needs to be done, schedule on taking out the garbage, and etc.

The Relationship

You don't have to be best friends to have a peaceful relationship!

If you've been having problems with your roommate, you need to talk privately or with a fair mediator. Do not try to resolve it by yelling at each other, leaving hateful notes, or slam doors whenever you see them. This is not the way to live with another person.

You don't have to be best friends with your roommate but you have to respect their space, lifestyle, and beliefs. Try not to make things bigger than what they actually are. If they accidentally left a can of soda on your desk and it only happened once, don't sweat it. However it keeps happening, you need to let them know how you feel politely.

Learn when their birthday is, their favorite food, what they like doing, and what classes they are taking. Invest some time in getting to know them. It's always nice when you ask how their day was or how they did on the finals. Keep the subject topical and not too personal unless your relationship with them are heading to real friendship.

Open the door for a real friendship.

Do not hesitate to become friends with your roommate(s). I did try to keep some distance between me and my old roommate but we were very civil and were actually friends. We never really had arguments and respected each others space. Opening the door to a real friendship is a good things.

I made sure to give my roommate a cake for his birthday and he returned the nice gesture for mine. Our relationship was harmonious and respectful but we were not best friends. That is okay though but keep your mind open.

Talk about the rules!
Talk about the rules! | Source

Living Ground Rules


What parts of the room is yours? In our case, it was just the two of us in one room so naturally, we virtually did split the room into two sections. We didn't use a masking tape to draw a line but we knew where our own spaces were.

Do not put your possessions on their bed or leave your project materials on their side. Have a communal space that you and your roommate can use to do your big projects and always clean up after yourself.

Kitchen and the Refrigerator

Talk to your roommate about the arrangement with doing the dishes. In our case, once you use plates and utensils, you wash them right after using them. This is great as you almost always see your sink empty and clean. You shouldn't wait for the dishes to turn into a pile of dirty, sticky, and oily plates!

Tip: Get a dish rack!

Only buy groceries for about a 2-3 days depending on how big your fridge is. You want to leave space for your roommates food too. My roommate was vegetarian and I'm glad that he respects the way I eat. I feel sorry for the guy, as I sometimes put processed meat in the fridge! Oh well, I guess!

Be nice enough to clean the fridge when you have time or just when you see it getting dirty. Prevention is key. I feel bad for my roommate who always cleaned the fridge, not that I made it dirty. He used the fridge more than I did and the good things is, he actually loved cleaning.

If your roommate holds back on cleaning the kitchen, room, or his space; you need to ask them politely and respectfully to do their part in the room. Try your best not to offend them and show bad attitude. Not only could they retaliate back but you can come across as bossy and demanding.

Tip: Only buy groceries that you would actually eat. Don't let your food spoil.

The Bathroom

You have to acknowledge the fact that your bathroom is communal. You and your roommate(s) are also using that very same space.

Designate storage space right away once you move in. Make sure that it's fair or if you really don't have much to store, let your roommate use some space if they have more toiletries and other bathroom items.

Do not take too long in the bathroom. I am guilty of this but knowing my roommate's schedule allowed me to take long showers and do all my bathroom business; not to be graphic! I used the bathroom whenever my roommate is not in our room. It also was to my advantage as I sang loudly in the bathroom. Wow, I hope he was okay with the singing!

You can have visitors too!

It's okay to invite friends over as long as you notify your roommate. Notify them at least a day or hours before so they know what to do during that time. You can ask your roommate to stay or leave as long as it's respectful.

Try not to bring friends over if your roommate wants the room if they are studying for a final, doing a big project, or having a big study group session.

For overnight visitors, you have to ask for permission. It is their room as well and they might want as much privacy as they can get. However, asking nicely and letting your roommate know at least a month to a week before will help them adjust and prepare.

How do you get along with your roommate(s)?

See results

Boyfriends or Girlfriends

If you are in a relationship, you can invite your sweetheart over. It's perfectly fine as long as you are not showing too much affection in front of your roommate. That might be very uncomfortable.

Let your roommate know early on if you plan to have your boyfriend or girlfriend over for dinner or even overnight. Just always be respectful.

If you are courting someone or bringing a "date" to your room, make sure that it is appropriate to do so. Introduce them to your roommate and do not overstay your welcome.

Intimate Time

Make sure you have a code. My roommate named this "code orange." He would text me whenever he had someone over and text me again to clear the code. Let's leave this section at that.

Final Tips

Just remember to:

  • Set the ground rules as soon as possible
  • Ask for permission
  • Notify in advance if you plan on using the room for anything
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Be respectful and try to contain bad attitude
  • Open your mind for friendship
  • Do not engage in too much PDA in front of your roommates, especially when they have friends over.
  • Be helpful if they need your help, they will do the same for you.
  • Try to give them some space from time to time. We all need some alone time!

If you have anything else to add to this article, please leave a comment below!


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    • kiddiecreations profile image

      Nicole K 

      11 months ago

      Great hub! You made some good points, here. The part about you singing in the shower was pretty funny! I had a few different roommates when I was in college. My first roommate and I were very different. She was an early riser and would go to bed early; I am a night owl and liked to sleep in late, if I could. While we never became best friends, we tried to keep things as civil as possible, just like you stated in your article. If I wanted to stay up later than her, I would go into one of the study rooms on our floor and work on homework or whatever I was doing in there. I tried to respect her wishes for the most part. The following semester, I met my roommate Nicole. Yes, we share the same name, which could be a little confusing at times! We became not just roommates, but really good friends, and we are still friends to this day! Some of my best college memories came from that friendship. We learned each other's likes and dislikes, cheered each other up when we were bummed out, ate meals together and hung out together a lot outside of just being roommates. If you can become friends with your roommate, I highly recommend it, as it can make the college experience a lot of fun! :)


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