5 Basic Rules to Survive Living With a College Roommate

I like saying that those who haven’t lived in a dorm weren’t really students. Most of my fun and sad stories comes from my college years and particularly from my dorm life. I’ve been lucky to have Kathy as my roommate for 4 years. But although we are best friends till today, we weren’t much fond of each other at first. So I want to share the 5 basic rules of comfortable living with another person. They will come in handy to everybody who shares a living space with other people.

Don’t be annoying

Yes, I know you are sentenced to live together for years. And considering this, such advice sounds kind of unrealistic. But you should understand that even if a person is living with you, it doesn’t mean you must hang out or talk with each other all the time. So if you are in your talkie-mood and your roomie is not, don’t intrude.

Ask if it’s ok to have people over

I don’t think you’d like seeing half-drunk people sitting on your bed when you come home after exhausting classes. Nobody would like this. So just ask your roommate when you want to invite your friends. You see, for a person living with you, there is no way to avoid your friends’ company, no place to go and spend the evening. So just ask. And if you get rejection then look for a compromise, bargain, bribe. And in this case, blackmailing is better than ignoring.

If you screwed up – apologize. If you ask for a favor – say please.


You don’t have to build with your roommate a friendship for life. You need to survive with the least possible moral damage. No matter whether you like each other or not, just respect each other’s space and feeling by default. If your roomie must finish a project till morning, deal with the fact that you will have to sleep with the light turned on. If you are the one with a culture essay deadline, then let your roommate know about it beforehand. And maybe he /she will look up culture essay examples for you.

Do small sweet things for each other

And again, you don’t have to be friends, just be nice to each other. I baked a cake for Kathy after she had failed one of her sub-finals. Back there, we didn’t even talk to each other much but I decided to support her somehow. When I was really nervous before my first job interview, she hung encouraging notes around the room. It’s that simple. Make investments to bring a warm atmosphere to the place where you live.

No significant other is staying the night

No exceptions. It’s really the most important rule we’ve come up with. The thing is that it’s never just for one night. And no, your roommate doesn’t sleep while you are fooling around with your guest. The situation gets so awkward that it becomes impossible to discuss it calmly. And even if at first it seems ok for both of you, the moment when it becomes the reason of the sharpest discord will come indeed. Respect yourself and your partner, don’t make him or her the bone of contention between you and your roommate.

Final thoughts 

Living with a stranger is the best way to try your ability to compromise. It either prepares you to a family life or indicates your inability to have one. Such experience allows understanding what exactly you are ready to tolerate in your future partner’s routine habits. And what you would not be able to live with. Finally, dorm teaches you to forgive even those who have vomited on your favorite shoes. And that is, believe me, somewhat of a Jedi’s level of emotional maturity.


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