Strong Boundaries = Better Relationships

collegetips praticaltools relationships suggestions Sep 17, 2021

Starting Your Roommate Relationship Off Strong with Boundaries

For most of us, having a roommate is a standard part of our college experience, but having a good roommate relationship is quite essential to both your academic and social success. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a roommate that I vibe with, so our dynamic is healthy and constructive, but this isn't the case for everyone. Even then, setting boundaries is important to maintaining your relationship and ensuring that conflicts are resolved well. 

 

Why is it important to have a good roommate relationship?

Even if you’re not in your dorm often, you and your roommate are likely going to be interacting quite a bit. You’re sharing the same space, so the behavior of you or your roommate can affect your academic success and mental health. The best way to ensure this is to set some ground rules. What are you gonna do when you want to bring over a special someone? What time do they set their alarm? How clean are you going to keep the dorm? What day will be housekeeping day? Even figuring out what they want from the college experience could be beneficial. Setting these ground rules and boundaries is important to having an open and honest relationship. 

 

How do you bond with your roommate?

I met my roommate through instagram, so it wasn’t completely random. We bonded by talking about how we wanted to decorate our room, and we collaborated when picking out rugs, bedsheets, and decor. Obviously, this may not work for you or your roommate, but I do recommend talking to them beforehand to reduce that initial awkward stage. However, this doesn’t mean your roommate relationship is doomed if you’ve barely spoken to them prior to move-in day.

On move-in day, I helped my roommate unpack and we went to Target afterwards. By exploring our campus and city, we got out of our dorm and started socializing, which helped us both find friends. My roommate and I are both pre-law, so we attend some extracurricular meetings together. There are a lot of ways to bond with your roommate, just don’t be nervous to talk to them. If you’re an introvert, check out this Bustle article about how to socialize as an introvert.

 

What are some boundaries that you should set?

You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. If you’d rather keep your relationship strictly as a living situation, that’s perfectly fine. If you want to get close with your roommate, that’s completely fine as well. The bottom line is that you should be clear about boundaries and understand your roommates boundaries. If they’re consistently hesitant about lunch plans or would rather occupy the room all day, that’s okay, and respect that boundary. Be open and communicative with your roommate, but be kind--you don’t want to ruin the relationship and risk having a rough semester.

 

What if I have a terrible roommate?

It’s unfortunate, but not uncommon. If you have a roommate that is making your college life difficult, read this article about surviving a terrible roommate (hyperlink Ashley’s article). You’ll get through it, and your college experience isn’t doomed because of it.

How was your experience with your roommate? Drop a comment below!

 

Special thanks to guest contributor Riya Cyriac founder of The Young Writers Initiative.

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