Column: How to handle roommates

Isaac Sinclair

Coming to college is exciting for a slew of reasons, but perhaps the biggest is that you get to leave home. You are no longer living with your family, and that is great. It is a big step toward becoming an independent adult.

But now you are going to have a roommate, or roommates, and this is an entirely new dynamic you will have to figure out.

The most important thing you need to do with roommates is communicate from the first day. Communication, in any relationship, is the most important key to success. If you make it clear that your roommate can talk to you about anything, no matter how uncomfortable, and that you can do the same to them, both of you will be just fine.

So when you actually talk, what should you talk about?

Boundaries are the most important things to begin with. Let your roommate know any of your personal preferences, such as if you like to shower early in the morning, plan on having guests over or fall asleep to music. Have them do the same thing, and if anything clashes, work through those conflicts before they cause a problem. It is better to know what each of you are comfortable with so both of you can enjoy living together.

It is also a good idea to figure out who is bringing what before move-in day. Get the other person’s information and talk to each other about who is bringing the Futon and who will bring the mini-fridge. This will make moving in smoother and help avoid both of you hauling unnecessary items.

You also want to talk about having guests over. How you handle having people over, whether that be relationships or friends, is important. Text or talk to each other before you invite people over and never assume that your roommate will be OK with you having company over. He or she may need to go to bed early for a big test the next day or was planning on having his or her own company over, so just talk to one another before you invite people over.

Boundaries also include having a limit on the number of nights people stay the night before your roommate brings a significant other over. You don’t want someone to slowly move themselves in before you realize it.

If there is a problem, and I’m going to let you know now that there will be, do not be passive aggressive about it. I’m going to say that again, do not be passive aggressive about problems. It doesn’t solve anything and will only make that situation worse.

Be up front about a problem. Let your roommate know something is bothering you and ask for their help in solving it. Oftentimes, he or she won’t even know he or she was doing something that would bother you. Have an open and honest conversation about the problem and possible solutions.

Communication is what it all boils down to. Remember, you only want to make each other’s lives easier, not harder. Communicate plainly with your roommate, and you will both enjoy living together.