With college resuming I figured now was a good time to offer some suggestions on how to get along with roommates. Sometimes it starts out great and then deteriorates. Sharing space with others is not easy, but here are some tips to help in the transition.
1) If there is something you feel strongly about (i.e., no overnight guests) say so upfront.
It is better to stop problems before they start. College especially is difficult because young love is so rampant. Some roommates may not appreciate having an extra unofficial roommate sharing their limited space. Be courteous.
2) Remember your roommate is not a mind reader.
Having a dry erase board or some place to leave notes (even texting) is a very smart fix to potential problems. "Your boyfriend stopped by because his cell phone isn't working" is probably an important note to share before your roommate storms into your room to say she is breaking up with the unthoughtful bloke.
3) Set up food parameters.
Are you sharing? Are you buying your own food? If for some reason your roommate is home sick, can he/she use your last can of chicken soup and replace it later?
4) Decide together what your cleanliness comfort level is.
The worst mistake a roommate can make is assuming everyone's idea of clean is the same. For me, I am a "straightener." I don't like papers laying around. I will pile them up neatly or throw them out. However, I really don't notice dust on bookshelves until it is an inch thick.
5) Accept your roommate for who he or she is.
The phrase "you can't change anyone but yourself" is a hard lesson to learn. As a roommate you are forced to care about someone you may not have chosen to care about. If you are on good terms, open communication is your best tool to find ways to get along. Remember, you are not always right, and your roommate is not always wrong. Find the balance.
Here's a video to demonstrate how easily a great roommate relationship can turn sour: