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Aug 4th 2017

7 Qualities to Look For In a College Roommate

You're about to go to college, but you haven't found your roommate. You don't have to worry about it, as you only need an open mind and a bit of consideration. It's easier said than done. Moreover, you're eager to make new friends as early as possible. You plan to be mindful of other people, even try to please them whenever there's a chance. Lastly, you're hoping that someone will invite you to a party. (And you won't say NO.) Let's look at it closely.

A college roommate may not be a member of your family, but a lifelong friendship is a possibility. You might be unaware that there are many factors behind it, and time won't be one of those things. It will be a lack of expectations, even your resolve not to impose on your roommate. There will be good times, and bad times as well. It can come down to particular traits, which shouldn't surprise you. After all, you're a teenager. If not, you're a young adult. (A very young one, as maturity often comes later.) It's far from the traits of a good teacher, even the qualities of a great leader.

If you're an English major, then you expect your roommate to respect certain quirks that you share with your course mates. It can be unpredictability on some days, prompting your roommate to wonder why you can't clean the window. On the other hand, your roommate doesn't like you to notice the grammatical mistakes during your conversation. You may be deemed disagreeable. Do you wish your roommate to share similar traits with you? The advantages aren't hard to see, but there can be a downside. Will you rather choose your roommate? Social media can give you bits of information, but you can't make a good judgment from it. How about issues? It might not take long before you notice one.

You must take note of personal space, communication, living with your roommate, similar traits, initiative, sense of humor, and compassion (or understanding).

What Do You Expect From Your Roommate?

Personal space. You'll freak out if your roommate attempts to get too close to you in the shortest time. It might be a good intention, so you don't have to misjudge it. Otherwise, explain your side without being defensive about your reaction. After all, you try to get to know each other. If not, let time take its course. If both of you are keen on making new friends, then you can start with the introduction. Talk about your interests, so you can find a common ground. You can proceed from there.

Communicating (and listening). Silence is not an option, as it can be a sign of trouble. There's nothing wrong in asking, which will banish any attempts of (your roommate) stonewalling (you). Keep in mind that you hardly know each other, unless you pay attention to your intuition most of the time. Listening is also an important aspect of the communication process, as it shows genuine interest on your part.

Learning to live with you. It means not leaving the dirty dishes on the sink. It also means using headphones when you're listening to loud music. It can be asking permission (like checking out the grocery items). You're not alone anymore, and you must not assume that you're a likable character.

There must be a few similar traits between you and your roommate. It's been proven that your roommate can influence you. You might be motivated to do better (in your studies), even prompt you to hit the gym frequently. On the other end, your roommate's action(s) can have a bad effect on you. (Think about your waistline after drinking a bit too much.) If your roommate can remind you to prioritize the coursework first, then you don't have to be anxious about the rest of the term.

Show some initiative. Your roommate won't wait for you to take out the trash. Your roommate won't let you scrub the toilet bowl (or clean the rest of your place). Your roommate won't expect you to cook enough food for both of you.

Sense of humor. The coursework can be distressing at times, and there are moments when you wish you're somewhere else. It can be paper writing (or thinking of good topics for narrative essays). It can be the daunting reading list as well. A sense of humor can be learned, but it can be a sign of a charismatic personality. If you notice it, then don't take it for granted.

Compassion (or understanding). This is the challenging part of your relationship, as most teenagers tend to think of themselves first (and foremost). There's nothing wrong about it. There are instances when feelings get riled, and you wish an adult will be there for you. Don't make a fuss about it. You can reach out to your folks, if not set a meeting with your tutor. Don't ignore your roommate, as you don't have to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

How About the Red Flags?

Does your roommate have manipulative behavior? You can talk about it without the self-righteous tone in your voice. There's insecurity on his/her part, so you need to show some sensitivity.

Does your roommate expect something from you? Don't keep a distance, as your roommate might not have friends at all. You need your own space, and you also have friend(s). Your roommate will understand it, but make an effort to keep an open line.

Does your roommate disrespect you? It will be a tough call. You can pass it up in the first instance, laughing about it (instead of getting angry right away). If it happens again, then tell your roommate why you're uncomfortable about it. If you really don't like it, then you can look for the head of the dormitory.

You can charge it to experience, but it doesn't have to get there. Talk about it. There must be mutual respect. Friendship will come sooner or later.

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