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Roomie Diaries

The article is written by Rebecca Todesco

So you’ve made it: you’re on the other side of the globe, you’re about to start your exchange program, the world is your oyster and you just can’t WAIT to stay up all night talking in your room with your new best buddies.

And then your new roommate walks in.

It’s funny how most peoples’ exchange fantasies don’t factor in that they might be sharing a room with a complete stranger.

There are two ways you can be lucky: if you’re assigned a room without a roommate or if your roommate is someone you already know. But more often than not, you can expect to be living, breathing, sleeping and eating within mere feet of a total stranger.

If the thought of that scares you then fear not!

Here are some easy steps to living making it work with a new roommate.

 

Step 1: Get to know each other
In those early days take the time out to get to know your new roomie. Sometimes the university you’re at will organise events to take do just that but sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself.

Whether you sit and chat in your room or head out for dinner together it’s incredibly important to chat with your roomie and learn a little about them. What do they like? What do they dislike? Do they like the room to be hot or do they sleep with the windows open?

All of this information can help you guys understand each other a little better and get rid of some of those cultural differences and problems you may encounter further down the track.

 

Step 2: Establish Boundaries

It’s crucial that you do this as soon as possible, preferably before you’ve been living together for an extended period of time.

It doesn’t matter how small they are, setting boundaries is a great way of eliminating the chance for future arguments and hostilities.

With different upbringings, it’s very likely you and your roommate will not see eye to eye on everything. They might not want members of the opposite sex in the room and you might not want them to play their music out loud after a certain time. These are the kinds of things you need to flesh out before it’s too late.

Trust me when I say it’s better to get these things out of the way as early as you can!

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Step 3: Compromise
You’re sharing a room with a total stranger: you’re not always going to get your way. The sooner you accept that, the better.

That being said, it’s important that there is equality in the room. You have to be willing to make some sacrifices but your roommate should also be willing to compromise.

Remember that you both have a common goal: coexisting peacefully.

 

Step 4: Communicate
I can’t stress how important this step is. There’s no use complaining to your friends about your roomie’s habits because it’s not going to change anything.

Sure, it’s always going to be scary confronting someone and it might even make things a little bit awkward between you for a while but it’s going to save you a lot of trouble in the future.

My past roommates have never had a problem voicing their concerns and you shouldn’t either. After all, it’s your room too!

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Step 5: Acceptance
This step doesn’t apply to everyone but is more for the people who find they don’t really get along with their roommates.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be friends with their roomies: that’s just how it is. But it’s not something you should sit and dwell on or lament about.

No matter what your relationship with your roomie ends up being it’s essential to accept it. You guys might end up being best friends who spend all your time together. Or you might be polite strangers who coexist.

There is no “right” way when it comes to roommates.

So when that total stranger walks into your room and introduces themselves, don’t be afraid. Just remember these steps and you’ll be fine.

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