The person that created the roommate idea was obviously not an introvert. Lucky for you, I am, and I can give you ten tips to surviving life with a roommate and/or suite mate.
1. Give each other space.
When two unique people shove all of their worldly possessions into a 11 x 16 foot room, it is undoubtedly cramped. Be sure to leave the room at times and allow your roommate to be alone.
2. Encourage one another.
College is hard. When your roommate is sitting with her head in her hands staring at her lap, it’s likely a good time to encourage her. Remind her that college only lasts a few years and the semester will be over in a few weeks. Another good idea is to leave her an occasional note or some candy. Just remind her that you are there for her.
3. Be sympathetic.
Because college is hard (see number 3), there are days when your roommate will need to talk. No matter how petty her problems seem, listen to her. Agree with her (unless of course she is obviously wrong). Make sure that she knows you have her back and can keep her secrets if she needs you.
4. Don’t borrow anything.
ANYTHING! It might get lost, broken, or otherwise defaced. When you borrow something, you become indebted to the person from whom you borrowed. It will be much better for your relationship if you keep your personal belongings personal.
5. Don’t look through each other’s things.
To me, this seems obvious, but apparently it’s not. Let me just give you a fictional example.
*** My roommate asked to borrow a shirt (see number 4). Against my better judgment, I told her to get a shirt out of my top drawer. When I saw her a few minutes later, she was wearing a shirt that I know was in my closet. (I know this because I had considered wearing it that morning). ***
If this had really happened, I would be very concerned. I would want to know why she was in my closet when I told her to get the shirt out of the drawer. As a result, she would definitely lose my trust.
6. Stay up late and talk.
This is one of the best things about my roommate. A few times a semester, we will have an impromptu late-night talk session. We both lay in our beds obnoxiously belly-laughing as we hypothesize about our futures, prophecy future couples, and reminisce on our childhoods. We also take one “roommate date” a semester. It keeps us close.
7. Don’t criticize.
No matter how ugly her grandma heels look with her painted-on skinny jeans and billowy tank, keep your opinion to yourself. Congratulate yourself on having a better sense of style, and let it go. Criticism will only cause unnecessary riffs between the two of you.
8. Have mutual friends.
My roommate and I have some very close mutual friends and we love to socialize together. It’s fun to hang out, go to parties, and make memories with each other and others at the same time.
9. Have personal friends.
I also have friends that my roommate never talks to. Honestly, all she knows about them is their name. It’s important to spend time away from each other so that you get a break.
10. Love each other.
Remember that love is a verb, not a feeling. Constantly love by being generous, understanding, helpful, kind, patient, and slow to anger. Keeping a I Corinthians 13 frame of mind when dealing with your roommate can do a world of good.