Breaking the ice with a new roommate can be nerve-wracking. The outcome is completely unpredictable. You might become BFFs (think Monica and Rachel on “Friends”), worst enemies (think “Single White Female”), or fall into some murky gray area in which you aren’t quite sure what’s going on.
But don’t torment yourself too much. Even with completely opposite personalities and schedules, a little effort can go a long way in making dorm or apartment life pleasant for you and your roomie.
Go on a campus or neighborhood adventure. Whether you both know the area or not, you two can both discover new things just by walking outside and exploring the sights and sounds. Don’t make any formal plans – just choose a mild day to walk around together and see what happens. You never know what you might discover: a hidden coffee shop, a quiet study spot or even an easy shortcut to class or work.
Break bread together. Even if you were complete strangers a few weeks ago, eating is not negotiable. Why not do it together? Try to make it a regular practice to enjoy a meal with your roommate. This could be at the campus dining hall or a local spot near your apartment. Trying a new place might be a fun experience for both of you. If you’re really on a budget, alternate preparing meals at home – or just cook together! The point is, a mutual breaking of bread offers you the chance to chat, catch up and really get to know the person who sleeps just a few feet away every night.
“Break Bad” together. After a long day of classes and/or work, few things will excite you more than knowing that later on you’ll get to unwind with a bowl of popcorn watching an awesome show with your equally awesome roommate. This tradition can make living with a roommate fun. Even if you two have had a disagreement, primetime bonding can be an easy way to forget your spat, at least temporarily. So fire up that DVR! If there’s no TV in the main living room and you don’t feel comfortable in each other’s bedrooms, stream your favorite show on a laptop or tablet. Make a ritual of it. Order in Chinese on TV binge night and chow down while you catch up on all the shows you both missed that week.
Make his or her favorite comfort food. You’ll be one of the first to know when your roommate is having a bad day. From a low test score to family or relationship troubles, everyone could use some cheering up now and then. If you know your roommate’s favorite snack, be a good sport and surprise him or her. We’re not suggesting you go into full-blown maternal mode and spend hours preparing a giant pot of homemade chicken soup. Keep it simple with a quick snack that your roommate will appreciate when he or she gets home from a long, stressful day.
We want to hear from you: How have you bonded with your roommate?
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Bertoncelj