Although living with a roommate can be fun, the harsh reality often sinks in several weeks in: living with someone is hard. If you shared a room with siblings while growing up, you have some idea of what that can be like. If you are an only child, it can be even harder to understand just how to get along. But conflicts and fights are common and not necessarily a cause for alarm, as long as you know to expect them and how to deal with them. Here are some of the most common issues college freshmen go through when living with someone else.
Possibly the most common of all dorm room problems, you’ll likely fight with your roommate about the cleanliness of the room. This can go both ways. Maybe you are the one who has neatness in their blood and can’t leave the room unless your dorm bedding is perfectly folded and the room is spotless. On the other side (of the room), your roommate may not be carrying her weight by leaving dirty dishes around or not picking up after themselves. OR maybe you are the one who is a little laid back and don’t understand why your roommate is so uptight about a cleaning schedule.
When it comes to being clean, and how much each person puts in, it is best to discuss the roles of each person. Does one person take out garbage and the other wipes down the bathroom sink? Or do you alternate your chores? These are good ground rules to lay out so everyone knows each other’s job. This way, if anything is not done, each person knows if they are or aren’t responsible. A quick resolve for this problem is to create a chore schedule using your dorm room dry erase board or wall organizer.
Other rules to make sure to discuss stem around clutter. Is it OK to leave a text book out on the desk but maybe not on the floor? Do you not mind a jacket thrown over a chair or does everything need to be hung up? It’s very important to make any pet peeves clear so that no one steps on toes. If you’re the messier of the two, look into getting more storage for your clothes and supplies. Explore OCM’s long list of dorm storage ideas!
Also, check out our article on quick and easy ways to clean and organize your dorm room!
Another issue many roommates run into involves noise levels. Maybe your roommate is too loud. You come back to your dorm room after a long day of class and they are loudly chatting on the phone, or have their music blasting from their computer speakers. You just want to curl up with a book and relax in silence.
The best way to approach this is to try and give each other dorm room alone time. So, maybe Monday evenings you’ll study at the library so your roommate can blast music all they’d like. The next compromise would be for you to have your own day or days to have the dorm to yourself.
While you are both there, it’s important to not impede on each other’s space. Rules should be set for headphones to be used or the television to be watched at low volumes. Cell phone calls should be taken to a common area, especially if your dorm room is very small. Compromise is key!
Having People Over
Lastly, a big problem with many roommates can be the issue of people coming (and sometimes staying) over. Technically, in most dorm room cases, guests are not allowed to sleep over, but this can happen when an out of town family member or friend comes to visit. If your roommate is in the habit of having these guests over frequently, remind them of the dorm’s rules.
If it’s more an issue of friends stopping by and impeding on your space, or staying late while you are trying to sleep, set up some restrictions that you can both agree on. For example, let each other know at least 12 hours in advance if someone is coming over and ask permission; don’t just assume it is ok. Agree to a rule where a certain time at night is the end of visiting hours, whatever works best for both of you.
Remember that while fights are common and can usually be resolved by talking it over, if your roommate is becoming hard to live with, you can always speak to your R.A. If matters really become bad, you can request a new room or roommate for the next semester.