Getting Used to New Roommates (Again)
July 16, 2020
New school, new home, and new roommates; how can you establish a good relationship with them right off the bat?
With many previous undergrads moving on to attend graduate school, these students will often have to find a new home to live at, along with brand new roommates (that is, if you want to keep the cost of living down somewhat). However, new roommates can be tricky to get used to living with, so here's some starters to try and make the transition as easy and smooth as possible.
1) Be in contact with each other well before you all move in
I cannot stress this enough, don't let the first time you meet your new roommates be the first time you all interact, especially if you all have to organize who's bringing what to the new place. Getting to know your roommates a little bit before you all live together is definitely not a bad idea, but it's not like you have to be best friends with them, either; knowing how you can talk and converse to your roommates is really all you need. Establishing that small, open connection before you live together gives you a great start to living together.
2) Discuss boundaries and set rules for your place in advance or soon after moving in
Rules and boundaries that every household needs, regardless if it holds a few estranged roommates or an entire family. Setting these types of restrictions and expectations is essential upon moving in together; think about any issues you've had in the past (I've definitely had my fair share of problems with past roommates) and bring them up with your new ones, discuss general rules, and definitely establish the reality of keeping means of communication, especially that of worries, open all the time. Establishing that communication can easily be constant between you all will definitely help with any future problems or issues that come up later on.
3) If you have any worries or concerns, bring them up ASAP!
This was often an issue in my past housing arrangements in undergrad: roommates would passive aggressively leave notes around the apartment attacking others for minuscule issues, another would (also passive aggressively) attack and berate my roommates and I in group-chats, while refusing to talk in person, etc. This is what happens when lines of communication are unclear or, frankly, just not there. As roommates, it's your responsibility to be kind and thoughtful of one another, and keeping effective communication, whether it's in person or via text messages/chats, is vitally important to this; be upfront with your concerns and carefully explain them whenever they come up. Your concerns may differ from others', but everyone has their own reasons for being concerned or uncomfortable with different things; however, if something your roommates do weirds you out or makes you uncomfortable for any reason, just bring it up, what's the worst that could happen?
Not all roommates are perfect, and everyone definitely makes mistakes or does stuff that can possibly make others uncomfortable, however, kind and responsible adults can discuss any issues in a civil manner and respect each other's boundaries, and this is key to any apartment situation. Us grad students already have enough on our plates, so let's at least make this one aspect of our new adult lives just that much easier to get through.
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