If you haven’t already, pretty soon you’ll be finding out who your roommate is going to be for freshmen year. Some people find a roommate through Facebook groups, from their hometowns, or at Orientation, but many do not, and that leaves it up to random housing. It can be very nerve-wracking to contact your new roommate for the first time, and here are a few tips to help you combat the nerves and make a good first impression.
The first thing most people will do when they find out the name of their roommate is stalk them on social media sites. This can be a good way to find out things like what kind of music they live, movies they watch, what their hobbies are, but you have to be careful about judging them before you know them. Not everyone is exactly the same on Facebook as they are in real life, so go ahead and check out their profile, but don’t let ideas form in your head about who they are just from that. Also, take a moment to look at your own profile. Does it represent you the way you would like to be represented? I know when I first found out my roommate, my profile picture on Facebook was of a lone tree in the middle of a field as a joke with a few of my friends. I quickly changed it before talking to my roommate.
Make sure you evaluate your living style honestly. It’s no use lying about how neat you are, or how late you stay up, because your roommate will find out the truth eventually. When you first start talking with your roommate, if you’re honest, you can compromise on things and set schedules if you find that there are certain things that you do differently. For example, if you need absolute quiet when you study, you can set up times when your roommate will be out, like if she has practice or a club meeting. This will help to avoid conflicts later on because you both will have a better notion of what to expect.
You should try and talk on the phone with your roommate once before you move in. Start off with an email or Facebook message, and exchange phone numbers when you feel comfortable. Text back and forth for a while and when it feels like it won’t be super weird, have a phone chat. You’ll get to know your roommate better. The call can even just be about which roommate is bringing what, you shouldn’t be spilling life secrets or anything. If you live nearby each other, try and meet up and hang out a few times. See how you get along so you’ll be prepared when it comes time to move in with each other. You’ll feel more comfortable if you go out a few times, so you’re not moving in with a complete stranger.
Don’t rush into things. When you first are messaging or emailing your roommate, remember that you don’t have to set up all the details right away. It’s better to start off by just introducing yourself, saying things like what your major is and a few facts about you that aren’t too weird or personal. Get to know each other first and then you can decide who’s bringing the fridge and who is bringing the TV. Be careful not to overshare. You have an entire year to get to know your roommate, you don’t have to know everything there is to know about him or her and vice versa. Let it progress naturally.
Don’t expect that you and your roommate will be best friends. Getting along with your roommate is important to having an enjoyable first year, but that doesn’t mean that you are going to be inseparable. While this does sometimes happen, it can’t hurt to branch out and meet new people and just be friendly with your roommate. Many people prefer not to live with their best friends because it often leads to trouble. I know that I had the same roommate freshmen and sophomore year, and I really liked her as a person and she was a good friend of mine but living with her became too much. We got along much better when we had different roommates.
Be friendly! This should go without saying, but sometimes nerves or excitement get the better of us and we end up sounding mean or distant. A simple Facebook message or email just saying “Hey, I’m_________, your new roommate and I just wanted to introduce myself before we moved in together!” And then you can say a few hobbies or what movies you like or something else of that nature to make it more personable, and that’s all you really need. And don’t be too excited. Refrain from sending too many messages, or texts, so you don’t scare away your roommate.
Meeting a new roommate for the first time is never an easy thing to do, but just follow these few tips and you should have no problem! Unless you have the infamous crazy roommate, in which case nothing can help.