Establishing privacy and trust with your roommate

Living with a single person for an entire year of college can be difficult. Arranging to live with someone you know helps, but people often get paired together randomly, forcing two complete strangers to become compatible living mates for a full year. However, by working together, roommates can build relationships and trust without invading each other’s privacy. The questions on the Residence Hall Agreements enable students with similar habits and preferences to be placed together. In order of priority (from highest to lowest), these questions are• Do you smoke?• Do you object to a smoking roommate?• What are you sleeping habits?• What are you study habits and study environment?• What are your cleaning expectations?• How do you feel about other students socializing in the room• What is your music preference? These questions are reasonable ones to ask in order to try to pair similar people. Because they mainly cover people’s daily behavior, they are not overly invasive into students’ privacy. In fact, the questions are only the start when it comes to getting to know your roommate. Breaking the ice with a person you’ve never met before can be difficult, but asking questions such as these provides a reason for conversation and allows you to learn more about the person with whom you’ll be living. In addition to learning more about your roommate, building trust with him or her early in the year can strengthen your relationship. A good starting point is honesty. Rather than beating around the bush and saying what you think your roommate wants to hear, being frank and honest is a better idea so that each of you will be open about what you need and want. By telling your roommate the truth, both of you will be more comfortable and willing to spend time together during the school year. Sharing a room often involves sharing possessions as well. Both roommates frequently use various appliances such as televisions, refrigerators, and microwaves. While both you and your roommate can use items such as these in the room, it is important not to damage or excessively use these things so that you and your roommate can have equal access to the common items. Although certain items may rightfully belong to different people, establishing guidelines for sharing these items helps you and your roommate to trust each other. Also, it is important to allow your roommate some privacy. Doing so is not always easy because dorm rooms are rather small in size, but being considerate of your roommate’s wishes will help you both. It is important that you not become dependent on your roommate for entertainment or companionship because then he or she might feel like you are smothering him or her. College is an ideal place to meet new people and get involved in some fun events, so while building a relationship with your roommate is important, getting out and experiencing life on campus is also an excellent idea. Living with a roommate is not always an ideal or easy situation in which both people are comfortable. However, building trust and establishing privacy guidelines are important in order for you and your roommate to be content in the same room. By working together with your roommate, you can get along well in the dorm and possibly develop a long-lasting friendship.