One of the most difficult things about being a college freshman is learning how to live with your first roommate.
Regardless of who you are, it can be a challenge.
If you’re an introvert, it can be even harder.
And if your roommate is an extrovert, it can create an even more uncomfortable situation. But are there are some easy things you can do to cope.
Check out our list of the 5 things you can do to learn how to live with your college roommate.
Don’t Hide Your Passions
Everyone is passionate about something, but as an introvert, your instinct may be to keep your interests to yourself. When you’re living with a roommate, it’s crucial to let them know what you’re passionate about.
If you’re a gamer, let your roommate know you like playing video games. If you’re a creative individual, let your roommate see you painting, drawing, or crafting something.
You don’t want your roommate to think you hide out alone in your room all day long. Make them aware of your interests and hobbies and they may start to understand why you like to spend time alone.
Be sure that your hobbies don’t disrupt your roommate’s comfort. For example, if you are a video game junkie, play with headphones. If your roommate is trying to watch TV or study, they probably won’t appreciate the noise or the sounds your game makes every time you level up.
On the other hand, if your hobby is something that you can involve them in, ask if they want to join you. You may prefer to keep to yourself, but extroverts are often willing to try new things.
Some extroverts are only happy when they’re spending time with other people. But your hobbies might show them that there are interesting things you can do alone.
Find One Mutual Interest
You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but it’s always easier living with someone if you have some type of bond. Try to find a mutual interest or reach some common ground so that there’s at least one thing you like to do together.
Crappy horror movies, hiking, reality television… unless you’re polar opposites, there’s a good chance you have something in common.
Whatever your common interest may be, try to schedule time to do that thing together at least once a week.
It will make for a much better living situation if you can be friendly and spend some quality time together. Even if you don’t talk to each other for the rest of the week, you’ll at least have that once a week moment that you can spend getting to know each other better.
Learn Each Other’s Schedules
Whenever you have a roommate, you have to be able to work with and accommodate each other’s schedules. This is especially true in college, when you may not both have the same 9 to 5 work hours.
Share your class schedule, work schedule, and study schedule with your roommate. If you need alone time, try to take advantage of those times when your roommate is in class or at their on-campus job. These may be the only chances you get to enjoy true solitude.
For example, if you like to be alone when you’re reading or writing in your journal, plan time for that when you know your roommate will be away. For introverts who like their quiet time, this might only be possible during a few hours on a certain day.
Find a Place of Retreat
If you and your roommate have similar schedules, you may run into a situation where you’re both always home at the same time. And that means there will inevitably be times when your roommate has friends over.
So to keep your sanity and make sure you’ve got some time to yourself, find a place of retreat. Whether it be a local coffee shop or a quiet nook in the library, find a spot where you can go and enjoy your own personal space.
Keep in mind that you and your roommate have to share your room, so you’ve got to accept that fact that they will sometimes want to entertain friends. And if you don’t want to be around those friends, you’ll need a place to go.
While a private spot is important, make sure you don’t spend all your time there. You’ll never make friends in college if you spend all your waking hours alone.
Set House Rules if Necessary
As the introverted roommate, you may have to step out of your comfort zone and establish some house rules. Have a conversation with your roommate so that you can set some boundaries and create some ground rules that work for both of you.
You can do this at the beginning of the semester or you can wait a bit and see how it goes, but if things seem to be getting out of control, don’t wait too long.
Establish specific quiet hours, study hours, TV times, or hours that are acceptable to have guests over. Discuss these issues with your roommate to come up with a plan that works for both of you. If you really don’t like to entertain, the conversation should include how often and how many friends can be over at a time.
You both share the space, so when you’re setting house rules, you’ve got to be respectful of one another. Be realistic, be flexible, and be understanding that sometimes things happen that are out of your control.
For example, if you have a two guest limit on how many friends you can have over and every once in a while a third guest drops by, try to let it slide. Expect that there will be times when both of you have to bend the rules.
Tying it All Together
Living with your first college roommate can be tough, especially if you’re an introvert who likes their own space.
- Let your roommate know what your hobbies are and why you enjoy spending time alone.
- Work around each other’s schedules.
- Try to find at least one common interest that you can do together once a week.
- Find a place to retreat on those occasions when you need some time away.
- Establish some house rules.
With a bit of patience and good communication, even polar opposites can turn out to be the best roommates!
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