Close Quarters: Tips for sharing a small space
Having a roommate is tricky. Whether you’ve never had to share your space or have always shared a room, the transition to living with a potential stranger in a small space is tricky, but not impossible. Try these 5 tips to keep the roommate peace.
Be considerate. Sharing a small space is hard. Almost every movement you make affects your roommate in some way and vice versa. Be considerate of the small space and try to limit potentially annoying actions. If you have an early class, don’t turn on the bright overhead lights and bang around when your roommate is trying to sleep. If your roommate is a tidy person, try to keep your clutter to a minimum. By just being thoughtful, you can avoid many of the most common problems that cause roommate issues.
Create personal space. It’s important to have some personal space even in a small room. Whether It’s your bed with perfectly fluffed pillows or your desk with pictures of friends and family, make a space that’s all your own. Don’t let sharing a small space mean you don’t feel like you have any personal space. It’s your room too!
Read the room. One of the most challenging parts of being a roommate in a small space is that there’s nowhere to escape to when things get tough. Sometimes, your roommate might just want to be alone. If you’re sensing an oncoming mood swing, maybe go hang out in a friends room, the student center, or take a trip to the beach. Get a sense of how your roommate feels and give them space when they need it. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you.
Don’t be a jerk. The other half of being considerate, don’t be a jerk requires you to step outside yourself and analyze which of your actions could be considered jerkish. For instance, inviting friends over when your roommate is sick in bed or leaving your dirty dishes in a common space, both jerk moves. It’s normal to have a roommate that is different from you and you certainly don’t have to become best friends, but you do have to live together. You might as well make it as peaceful a relationship as possible.
Ask for help. When roommate tensions rise, reach out to your R.A. and ask for help. They can act as a moderator for a tense conversation or provide insights on how to reconcile the issues. If the issues seems like beyond what your R.A. can handle, talk to your R.D. about the best way to solve your problem. You’ve got a support system here to help, take advantage of it! There’s never a problem too big to solve.