Upon registering for on-campus housing, you hope the housing gods prevent you and the Slob roommate from crossing paths. Plot twist: you are the Slob. We all possess less than ideal habits, but read on to avoid letting your habits ruin your roommate relationship. No one wants to make the “Worst Roommates Ever” list.
1. The Mooch
Two subcategories of the Mooch exist: the Covert Mooch (he steals a pencil) and the Blatant Mooch (he asks for a pencil daily). Just don’t steal from your roommate. It’s that simple. You would never want him to steal your stuff, right? Even if you desperately need his Red Bull during his weekend away, make the trip to CVS or ask a floormate. Otherwise, avoid being the Mooch by splitting things with your roommate. Switch back and forth when buying things you share, like printer ink or toilet paper. Asking for one of his protein bars once in a while is probably fine, but if it becomes a habit, buy a box yourself. Or simply pay him back. Your roommate is not your mom. Don’t rely on him to provide for you.
2. The Slob
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Unfortunately, you can’t wake up one day and transform into a neat freak. Containing your messiness will do. Avoid the Slob mentality by keeping the mess on your side of the room and making sure it doesn’t cross over to your roommate’s side or the common room of your suite. Be extra wary of leaving old food or smelly clothes around, because then your mess becomes your roommate’s issue. Even a weekly tidying (a twenty minute pickup after your Friday classes, for example) will keep your room stink-free and keep the messiness in check.
3. The Clinger
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Clinger Syndrome occurs most often among freshmen. Clinginess results from homesickness or the anxiety of thousands of new people around. Even if your roommate becomes your bestie, the importance of moderation remains. Avoid clinging by joining clubs. Clubs equal automatic friends and usually give you more party opportunities, so you won’t always have to follow your roommate wherever she goes. Remember that being alone (eating alone, studying alone, walking to class alone) is part of embracing your independence as a college student. Go to the gym or dining hall by yourself every once in a while. Try sparking conversation with another person from your floor or class.
4. The Hermit
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College has more to offer than any other place you will live: interesting people at your fingertips, clubs for every personality, programs and guest speakers galore and likely a city nearby to explore. Don’t hide out in your room. Not only does it prevent you from experiencing college, but it also makes it impossible for your roommate to get some privacy. Study at the library and not on your bed. Eat your meals in the dining hall and not at your desk. Hang out with friends in common areas. Your roommate will appreciate some time alone and will do the same for you. Plus, it will give you a chance to find the best campus spots quicker than anyone you know.
5. The Gossip Girl
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Just as your roommate needs some time alone, she also needs some quiet time. Don’t be the type who constantly has stories to tell, making it impossible for your roommate to do homework in the room. Use your judgment; is she reading, doing homework or listening to music with headphones? She probably doesn’t want to talk. Being able to casually chat makes your roommate relationship comfortable, but overdoing it can ruin the relationship. If you have a story you want your roommate to hear, save it for the right time to respect her space.
6. The Puker
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It goes without saying that both sides of the spectrum, the “Turn down for what” mentality versus the “Eat, breathe, sleep books” approach, are both detrimental to your being. The former can frustrate your roommate. Inviting loud friends over Sunday through Wednesday nights will ruin your relationship. Even on acceptable partying nights, going too hard all the time isn’t only against your mom’s wishes, it’s also against your roommate’s. No one wants the caretaker responsibility night after night. If you enter college without knowing your limits, it's understandable that you may push them. But once you realize your limits, try not to surpass them too often. Your roommate and your dorm floor will thank you.
7. The PDAer
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No one wants to hear lips smacking or witness footsies in the privacy of his own room. Try to keep your pants on when you invite your special friend over to hang out without telling your roommate beforehand. If you do need the room, always give good notice. Shooting your roommate a text from across the room asking if he can leave for a while doesn’t cut it; that’s a total disrespect for his time. If you find someone at a party to bring home, text your roommate to make sure he can find another place to hang for a while (or somewhere else to sleep), not to tell him to leave. Likewise, tell your roommate if something goes down before he walks in from a prematurely-ended class. Remember that you pay several thousand dollars to live on campus each year, so don’t leave your roommate homeless and return the favor when he needs it.
My dad always tells me that living with someone isn’t easy, and it’s true. Even the best of people can be the worst of roommates. Moderate everything you do: don’t party too hard, don’t study too hard, don’t be too loud, don’t be too quiet and you will maintain the best living situation possible.