Whether it is a sibling, a friend, a significant other or a spouse, there will be many times in your life where you share a room with someone. Where in the past your roommate may have been someone you know or love, in college, you may very likely end up living with a complete stranger. Whether your roommate is your best friend or your living nightmare, there will always be troubles that occur when you are living with another person. Even down the road as an upperclassman or graduate, living with another can often result in conflict, tension and a desperate need for personal space. The important thing to remember as someone with a roommate is that no matter your feelings for one another, there are ways to live together in peace and to cultivate a healthy relationship.
1.) Understand that it is not just your room. Going from having your own room to a shared one is a difficult thing for many people to accept and adjust to. When you share a room with someone it is hard to give up certain liberties that come with living alone such as leaving messes, having the lights on late or playing music when you want to. The best way to avoid conflict is to respect your roommate's needs and to know what one another is comfortable with in regards to guests, lights, mess, food, etc. Ultimately, learn to compromise and to pick your battles.
2.) Acknowledge your roommate. This may seem like a strange suggestion and you may wonder how could you not acknowledge your roommate when you live with them? The truth is that if you and your roommate are not good friends or even fans of one another for that matter, you both may very easily get caught up in your own lives. A simple "how was your day?" "hello," or meal together can keep the peace and form a respect for one other that will bode well for cohabitating in amity.
3.) Get to know your roommate. If you are going to be living with someone, it is a good idea to know his or her story. You may be surprised by what you find out about your roommate the more you learn about them. Understanding and knowing your roommate will not only make you more comfortable with one another but it will also give you an opportunity to learn the root of their nature, which can help you predict and understand their behaviors.
4.) Communicate with your roommate. Communication is key and it is a vital action that you and your roommate should always do. First and foremost, address your problems before they brew into bigger issues. Communicating is especially important if you or your roommate want to have guests over or plan on staying elsewhere for the night. Being aware of one another's plans and schedules will allow you to discuss problems you may have with a situation in advance and will allow you both to avoid unwanted surprises or conflicts that occur when you both are not on the same page.
Patience, respect and compromise will always lead to healthy relationships above and beyond getting along with your roommate. That being said, in the meantime, the main object to take away from these tips is that you do not have to be best friends with your roommate in order to successfully live with them.