Your First Roommate Experience: Making Room for Each Other's Routines

A guide to make rooming with another person much more manageable.
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Created by Ginger

Published on Jan 20, 2022
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Your college years present many new opportunities, like having a roommate for the first time. It might be something you’re considering to help pay for your rent or something that’s required of you to live on campus. Either way, you might be wondering how to navigate your first roommate experience. Check out this guide to learn helpful tips that make rooming with another person much more manageable.

1. Start Talking Before Your Move

Message your roommate on social media if you have a few days or weeks before you start living with them. Get to know them through casual conversations to get an idea of how you’ll live together. Someone who has wildly different interests and lives a lifestyle that’s the opposite of yours will quickly reveal what you can expect.

It’s a great chance to figure out how to compromise with your first roommate, too. You’ll know how they communicate most easily because you’ve already started talking.

2. List Your Living Space Priorities

As you read about how to navigate your first roommate experience, don’t forget to start a conversation about your priorities. What drives your routine? Maybe you’re an early bird who needs quiet hours at night. Perhaps you aren’t great at doing dishes regularly and don’t want to agree to a strict cleaning schedule.

Ask your future roommate to list their priorities too. By combining your lists, you’ll create a routine that works for both of you while you have to live together.

3. Give Each Other Space

Your first instinct may be to spend tons of time with your new roommate, but that isn’t always a great idea. One of the best tips for living with a roommate is giving each other space after moving into your dorm or apartment.

You’ll both need time to develop your individual routines. Things may change unexpectedly or need adjustment, like how much time you spend at the library versus studying at home. Feeling tied down to roommate commitments will only add stress to your lives, so don’t think of space as a bad thing while you get used to your new schedule.

4. Establish a Bill Schedule

Financial commitments will be part of your roommate experience if you have to pay bills together. Most students get roommates for that very reason. The average rent requires 30% of a person’s income, which feels like much more when you’re working a part-time college job.

Talking about your finances is also the first thing you’ll need to know how to compromise with your first roommate. Some bills will change every month, so talk about how to split them fairly while considering each of your financial limitations.

5. Talk About Rules for Guests

Any guide that explains how to live with a roommate should mention how guests can complicate things. Your roommate might have friends over all the time and make studying difficult. They could also invite people over for the night.

Would you feel comfortable having strangers sleeping in your apartment? What about having a party in your living room while you’re trying to read? Talk about how often you’ll both have people over and when you’ll need quiet time. Laying everything out early in the semester will prevent things from becoming tense later on.

6. Keep an Open Mind

Keeping an open mind is another one of the best tips for living with a roommate. Even if you talk everything out and get along great, things could change. School-related stresses and complications in your personal lives might force your routines to change unexpectedly.

During every conversation with your future roommate, try to keep an open mind while discussing what they’re going through. Change may be challenging, but it doesn’t have to ruin your friendship or your living arrangements. Try to align your routines as much as possible and remind yourself that conflicts aren’t always personal.

Enjoy Your First Roommate Experience

Now that you know more about how to live with a roommate, get excited for what’s in your future. You’re about to have a great experience with a brand-new friend! No matter what happens, you have helpful tips stored in your back pocket to help you work through potentially conflicting routines.

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