Student to Student - How to Get Along with Your Roommate

Living with another person is never easy so we asked recent graduates for their best tips for getting along with a roommate. Share this, their hard earned advice with your college bound kids to start their roomie relationship off right.

Be polite, cordial, and respectful of their space. Everyone LOVES a clean roommate, especially if they’re neat themselves. There is nothing worse, and nothing causes more tension than one roommate who is sloppy and gross and one who is tidy and clean. Sharing is caring, but if you use something (i.e. the last of the shampoo) be sure to replace it quickly! Also, it’s nice to invite your roommate out with you—grab them before you head to the gym or the dining hall – they’ll do the same for you.
— Simon
My advice would be to Invest in good headphones, earplugs, and an eye mask!
— Tanner
Mutual friends introduced my roommate and me, but as we lived in different states, we didn’t meet each other before the beginning of school. We started to get to know each other via text in the weeks leading up to move-in. We’d play the question game where we would ask each other tons of random questions like, “What is your favorite junk food,” “Do you snore?” “Do you like to fall asleep with the TV on?” “Are you a neat freak?” Asking these somewhat silly questions helped us to avoid any awkwardness or differences once we got to school. I always say that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. It’s an awesome plus, but as long as two roommates are compatible and can respect each other, all is good!
— Tessa
Make a roommate contract.
Don’t “sexile” them, especially on short notice.
Freshman year is a great time to decide to become a neat person.
— Christian
Don’t scrutinize their social media accounts before meeting them. Show up on move-in day with an open mind and no expectations.
— Jake
Find something to do with your roommate. You don’t have to be best friends, but participating in a shared activity, whether watching a television show, grabbing a morning coffee or going to the gym sets the foundation for a healthy relationship. It doesn’t mean you have to get lunch together every day, but small things done together gives you a common ground and something to chat about!
— Marjorie
My freshman year roommate and I didn’t know each other before college, and we couldn’t have been more different. We immediately became close and remain close to this day. I think the reason for this is that we both learned how to not only appreciate our differences but more importantly to respect one another’s differences. So what if one of you goes to bed early and the other likes to stay up late or one is extremely clean, and the other is less so. As long as you are open and honest with one another—you can make anything work! Being passive aggressive or quiet about issues just makes things worse, my roommate and I were very quick to discuss anything—anytime—when one of us was upset. I think this made all of the difference!
— Taylor
My freshman roommate turned out to be one of my best friends. That also means we fought more than we probably would have had we been the typical freshman roommates. The advice I would give about getting along with your roommates, and all other people in life is this:
• Take a patient 1, 2, 3 breath every time. Every single time. No matter what.
• When you vent, don’t do it in writing.
• Take everything with a grain of salt.
• Always be the first to apologize.
• Learn to have alone time while with another person – watch your shows with your headphones on or read a book while the other person naps — you don’t always need to be hanging out even though you’re both in the same room.
• Figure out a routine that’s separate from your roommate’s.
— Anne
Be inclusive. I think it’s important to go out with your roommate during the first night or two of school. If you go out together and don’t enjoy where the night goes/who you hang out with, then there is a mutual (unspoken) understanding you will not be best friends. I think leaving a roommate the first few nights to go hang out with kids you may already know from home sets a bad tone and immediately creates some tension.
— Ben
To me, respecting each other’s space is the most important thing. Be considerate: ask before using something, keep your space clean, and don’t invite friends over if your roommate has a lot of work or a test. I think living with a roommate, at least for your first year at college, is valuable even if you aren’t best friends or all that similar. Sometimes it works out even better—you get to meet people through them that you otherwise wouldn’t. Also, a roommate can become a trusted friend outside of your “inner circle” who you can rely on to be straight-up with you.
— Charlotte
My freshman year roommate was also my sophomore year roommate, my junior year roommate, and you guessed it, my senior year roommate. So it’s safe to say we got along very well freshman year.
I think the main reason we got along so well is that we had a lot of similarities. We joined the same fraternity; we were both aspiring to be in the business school, we played sports and joined Intramural teams together. But even if we had not been so compatible, I do remember what made him (and what I hope made me) such an easy roommate.
College was a first for both of us, and we challenged each other to do things we hadn’t done before. As simple as making our bed every morning to going to the gym every day, we were engaged in having a routine and being accountable to one another. We helped each other make a new, unfamiliar experience a comfortable one for the both of us.
Also, an easy way to piss off a roommate is to be disrespectful of his or her space or schedule. Be communicative! It never hurts to keep each other in the loop or included on plans.
— Brad
My biggest suggestion would be to find your social outlets separate from your roommate’s or closest friends. Having different groups that you are a part of allows you to find your niche at college.
— Jessi
Be open minded. Chances are your roommate will come from a very different background than you, and it’s helpful to be non-judgemental to learn and grow from your differences. After going to high school with friends with similar upbringings and experiences, it’s sometimes tough to shift your mindset. But, meeting new people and expanding your boundaries is what college is all about.
— Harry
Unfortunately, I did not get lucky with my roommate freshman year, and we lived in a tense situation most of the time. Luckily, I had good friends down the hall, and their room became my second home. I admit I was jealous that they had such a close relationship, but looking back I realize I learned a lot from a less than ideal situation. By having a BAD roommate, I learned how to be a GOOD roommate. Now, I always think how my behavior and moods affect my fellow housemates and try to be respectful, neat and let the little things go. My living situation forced me to branch out and make new friends; something “best friend” roommates don’t always do. If you don’t get along with your roommate, remember freshman year goes fast and going forward you get to choose who you live with.
— Ally