How to Avoid Freshman Year Roommate Awkwardness

In College Life on Mar 28, 2016

The start of college is just a few weeks away. The prospect of cool classes, new friends, and more independence are all exciting, but there’s one thing most incoming freshmen are worried about – their new roommate.

If you’re going to the same school as a friend and chose to live together, great! But most of us end up with someone completely random, and we’ve all heard horror stories about the weird roommate who does rain dances in their underwear, doesn’t believe in showering, or keeps you up all night playing the bongo drums. Luckily, these situations are far from average – in fact, we’d say they’re pretty darn rare.

But chances are you want to get to know the person you’re going to be living with next year before you move in. You have to know what to expect, right? Here’s how to make sure you don’t wander into a sticky situation come move-in day.

Talk on the Phone or in Person When You Can
Texting and social play a huge role in communication, but that doesn’t mean you should stick with them exclusively. Chat on the phone or meet in person if you live fairly close to get a better feel for how outgoing your roommate is, what they find funny, and how they express themselves. Plus, it’ll be a relief to hear a familiar voice once your parents leave and you’re surrounded by unfamiliar people on move-in day!

Use Social to Your Advantage
Admit it – if you haven’t already talked to your new roomie, you’ve at least Facebook stalked them. Checking out someone’s social profiles can tell you a lot – what their hobbies are, what sort of music and movies they like, and what they do with their free time. But at some point it’s time to stop lurking and have a real conversation.

Don’t just rely on Facebook or Instagram, either – start Snapchatting your new roommate and try to understand their sense of humor before you move in. You may even have some great inside jokes and feel super close by the time it’s time to start school. Plus, feeling out someone’s personality makes it easy to…

Find Some Common Ground
Maybe you and your roommate are both really into live music, or maybe you’re a gym nut and they’re trying hard to get in shape. Figure out what your common interests are – if you don’t have any, find something you’ve both always wanted to try and do it together. Bonding over a mutually loved activity or new experiences relieves some of the tension you might feel living with someone new. Plus, you’ll have something to talk about when the conversation hits an awkward pause.

Who’s Bringing What?
Even if you got lucky enough to live in a fabulous dorm, your school probably isn’t providing you with every single thing you’ll need. Want a TV, gaming system, fridge, or microwave? They usually aren’t supplied. Make sure you don’t wind up with two microwaves and no fridge because you failed to figure it out in advance.

Set Expectations
Much as you may want to, you can’t ban your roommate from inviting friends don’t like to your room or making a ton of noise coming in late after a night of partying. But you can set up reasonable expectations in advance. Have a quick chat about lifestyle habits – like how clean you expect it to be, when you’re usually asleep, and how often you need some personal space – and see if your needs match your roommate’s. If they don’t, figure out how you can work around it – maybe you’re a neat freak who’s happy to clean up someone else’s dishes to keep the room tidy, but you realize you’ll need to put on the headphones when listening to music at night so your early-bird roommate can get some sleep. It’s all about compromise!

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