The word “roommate” may intimidate someone who has never had to live with another person with the exception of their immediate family. Learning to live with a roommate is an adaptation that many have questions about, but rarely ask for advice on how to keep the peace with a new roommate.
College students often live in dorms with a person they have never met before. The idea of living with someone with no previous connection can cause anxiety. Natalia Elsik, senior Wildlife Biology major, tries to ease the angst that comes with a new roommate.
“Strangers make the best of friends,” Elsik said. “If you room with someone you’ve never met before, there are generally less fights because a bond is built with them. Knowing someone beforehand can ruin a friendship.”
The idea of sharing a space with someone can be extremely unnerving.
“It’s definitely an adjustment, but try not to sweat the small stuff,” Mattie McAlavy, senior English major, said.
Making arrangements with a roommate in order to maintain a level of respect and understanding can benefit both students, whether one has some type of health issue that needs attention or a simple bed time agreement, according to junior
English major Clint Elsik, [Natalia Elsiks’ husband].
“There should be a mutual respect regarding bed time,” Clint Elsik said. “As long as one person extends this courtesy, the other should as well.”
Roommates communicating can create a harmonious environment. If one roommate is upset and does not state what is wrong, the other cannot take measures to correct the problem, according to McAlavy.
“I don’t know how much I can stress communication. If something is on your mind, the unspoken problem cannot be resolved,” she said.
For instance, a messy roommate for someone who tends to keep their room neat might find it hard for the clean one to properly communicate their issues. An agreement can be set in place in order to ease the tension between the roommates as soon as they meet, Natalia Elsik suggested.
Even when some roommates have a relationship where they talk regularly, fights can still happen.
“Keep in mind your roommate is human too,” McAlavy said. “ It’s hard sometimes, but life is hard sometimes.”
Fights sometimes get heated and create unwanted tension. At times, it may get to the point where a person wants to scream in order to get their point across. However, if possible, the roommates can attempt to calm themselves before continuing the argument.
“When in a fight, whoever starts it or whatever starts it, just take a break when you are both starting to get angry so you are calm when you continue the discussion,” Natalia Elsik said.
The communication to settle the fight might be easier when the parties involved are not in a screaming match.
Although a person may not be completely comfortable with the idea of living with a roommate, it can be possible to have a decent relationship with a roommate and to live comfortably with one as long as they communicate and respect each other.