It’s that time of year: time to decide who you will spend the entirety of next year sharing your precious personal space with and calling your roommate. For some, the decision may come easy. But for many, the decision feels dreadful. Day in and day out I see friends posting Buzzfeed articles on Facebook entitled, “20 Reasons How You Know Your Roommate is Your Best Friend” or “8 Reasons Why Living with Your Best Friend is the Greatest Thing Ever.” Living with your best friend could be a great decision. But I have also seen the opposite be true; many friendships fall apart after deciding to live together. Some people, regardless of how close of a relationship, will not make good roommates and that is okay! As it comes time to make your decision, I recommend having an honest conversation with your potential roommate about living preferences. What matters is that you will be good roommates and do not necessarily have to be best friends.
Two years ago I struggled immensely with the decision of who would be my sophomore year roommate. There were at least four different contenders, and I was closer with some than others. However, I ultimately decided to live with a friend that I was not nearly as close with (at the time) but I knew for a fact we would be phenomenal roommates. We lived next door to each other during our first year, and it was very clear when you walked into either room which desks were ours based on the level of organization and cleanliness. Also, I knew I would feel comfortable talking with her if an issue were ever to arise (which fortunately didn’t end up happening!). While some may not believe me, I can honestly say I don’t think we had a single disagreement all year.
Being able to come home at the end of a long day to a room that I knew would be clean and drama free was a major reason I found my groove during my second year. Living with a fellow introvert, I knew that I could come home and just stick headphones in if I needed alone time. She wouldn’t misunderstand my need for quiet, thinking I was mad or upset. She recognized that we both sometimes just needed quiet time and that was not a reflection on her. Other days, we had great times together just hanging out and being silly. It was through this mutual respect and understanding, that we became great friends over the course of the year and ended up traveling across the United States together. I am so thankful that I picked my roommate based on someone who I knew would make a compatible roommate because that created the foundation for a wonderful friendship.
While I was fortunate to have made a great decision, some of my other friends found their friendships deteriorate because living with a best friend ended up being harder than they thought. I was so thankful day after day that I could confidently say that I had such a stress-free living environment. After all, there are plenty of other stresses that come with being a college student. Do you want to add the stress of incessant roommate disagreements and arguments? Think through your preferences and communicate with your potential roommate before you sign the housing contact. Don’t forget to submit your housing and roommate preferences by Feb. 26!