If you’ve never had to share a room with someone, proper college roommate etiquette may not come naturally. And when you constantly have friends over, it could make your roommate feel uncomfortable, or as if they have a third or fourth roommate.
My roommate from freshman year and I didn’t hang out much outside of our room, but we got along well, liked the same music, and our sleep schedules even coincided. After seeing my friends’ roommates leave dirty clothes and dishes everywhere or blare obnoxious music, I considered myself lucky.
But when she started having friends over all the time, I suddenly felt like my double had turned into a common room. One of her friends was over constantly; they would talk for hours or watch a movie while I was trying to study, and it became annoying pretty quickly. But, I talked to her about it, and the situation was remedied after we worked out a basic schedule.
Before you find yourself in the same situation, it’s best to talk to your roommate and come up with a plan. When you or your roommate have friends over, keep these tips in mind:
1. Keep the lines of communication open. If you have a friend who spends a lot of time in your room, keep in mind that your roommate might not feel comfortable broaching the subject with you. Ask your roomie if they’re okay if other people hanging out in your room. Remember: it’s your room, but it’s your roommate’s, too!
2. If necessary, make a schedule. My roommate and I came up with a simple solution: a schedule. Some days I would study in the library so she and her friends could have the room to themselves; other days they went to the lounge or to the other person’s room so that I could hang out with my friends or take a nap. You might not have to make up a strict schedule, but just ask your roomie: “Do you mind if this person stops by now, or do you need some quiet time?”
3. Keep track of food and household supplies. If you live in apartment-style dorms or off-campus housing and your friends are over all the time, the divvying of supply expenses can get messy. Roommate etiquette dictates that all communal supplies (toilet paper, condiments, dish soap, etc.) be split evenly between roommates. But if your pals are using up the supplies, you should consider contributing a little more.
4. Make sure your friends know the rules, too. Fill your friends in on the agreement that you have with your roommate so that they don’t accidentally cross any lines. For example, if your friends are using your bathroom to get ready, let them know about your roommate’s schedule so that they’re not in the way. And here’s a biggie: unless you and your roommate agree to share food, make sure that your friends know what’s off limits.
Having a roommate can be a tricky situation, especially when it comes to sharing the room with friends. But with proper roommate etiquette and schedule coordination, you can learn how to live with each other — and each other’s friends! Just be considerate, keep the lines of communication open, and give each other quiet time when you need it.
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