Roomie Etiquette 101: How to Establish Respect and Friendship With Your New Housemate

roomieYou’ve emailed with your new roommate over the summer but now it’s real. After you set up your twin bed and photomontage on the wall, you hear the door open and a female voice yells “hey there!” from the living room.

The roomie has arrived.

You exit your bedroom for the official meet and greet. You’re excited. The start of a beautiful friendship! As you begin this new journey in a shared living space, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to ensure your roommate feels appreciated and respected. Here are just a few…

RESPECT. You’re used to dumping dirty dishes into the sink and watching your little brother rinse them before loading the dishwasher. College life is quite different. Sure, dump the dishes, but have common courtesy for your new housemate and hand wash them before bed. It may take an extra ten minutes, but you, and your roomie, will be happy to wake up to an empty sink and clean smell in the kitchen. This applies to all common areas like the living room (take your belongings back to your room – no one wants a sweatshirt graveyard!), as well as the bathroom. Try not to dominate this intimate shared space with multiple hair and body products. Keep a few things in the shower, but store excessive items in your room.

CONNECT. It is not always going to be easy, but if you find yourself looking to your roomie for companionship, be honest and transparent. Living together often ends in naturally finding out a lot about the person. To start off on the right foot, ask your new housemate questions about their interests and passions. You can offer your own stories of family, friends, or girlfriend/boyfriend experiences. Storytelling is valuable when it comes to relating to one another. You are bound to find common ground and connecting in this way can solidify your friendship early on.

ACTIVITIES. Try to find an activity on campus to help create a bond that can carry over to your living space. It is helpful to find something that will give you and your roommate an opportunity to shine. Are you creative? Attend the Fall Arts display that demonstrates new artists. Is your roomie an avid snowboarder? Ask if he/she would want to join the on campus ski/board club … and if they would be open to teaching you! Selecting a few common activities helps keep the roommate relationship strong throughout the academic year.

Living with a stranger can be hard. But if you connect and show respect, you’ll find ease in co-habitating with your roommate and perhaps even find a lifelong friend.

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By Shay Davis