So the big news is here…your random roommate’s identity has been revealed!!! What do you do now?! Well of course you talk to them! But what do you say? How do you make a good first impression?
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Luckily I am in the same boat as all of you. I went random this year with my roommate and I’m nervous to meet and talk to her for the first time too! Of course I’m nervous about us being complete opposites and not getting along but then I thought we might not be exactly alike but that doesn’t mean we won’t get along just fine. Opposites do attract you know.
Keep an Open Mind
The first thing to do before contacting your roommate is to forget all your worries and “what if” questions. Having an open mind about your new roommate will be the best thing because it will make it so much easier not to question her or assume things about her or what she’s thinking. A saying D and I live by is “Assuming gets you nowhere”. We say this because usually when people assume things their assumptions are wrong and it ends in a fight or a bridge burned for no reason. We try not to assume and we always ask questions and keep an open mind to avoid those things.
Stalk her social media accounts, although I don’t literally mean stalk her. What I mean is once you know her name try looking her up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to see what kinds of things she’s interested in. Social media accounts can be pretty revealing about a person. But be careful because they may be revealing but they only reveal the things a person wants to reveal. There is more than meets the eye and a social media account only scratches the surface of a person. You can still look at them and get an idea of your roommate but don’t base all of your expectations or ideas of them off of their Twitter account.
While we’re talking about social media accounts, take a look at your own. Does it represent you in the way you want it to? If your future roommate looked at your accounts right now would you be okay with what they would see? Do some spring cleaning of your own social media accounts before your roommate decides to stalk you too!
E-mail is a very efficient way of talking to someone for the first time, especially your future roommate. Chances are when you get the e-mail saying who your roommate is your university will provide you their student e-mail address so you can get in contact with them. So use it!
Of course you want to open up with “Hey, I’m (insert your name here) and I’m going to be your roommate this year! I wanted to introduce myself before we moved in together!” or something along those lines. You don’t want to open up with a 3 page essay about yourself on the initial contact. Wait for her response introducing herself to you and let the conversation flow from there.
Some icebreaker questions you could ask your roommate would be:
- What’s your major and why did you choose it?
- Where are you from?
- Do you have any siblings?
- Why did you choose (your college)?
- What kind of stuff did you do in high-school?
- Are you interested in joining any student orgs on campus?
- What’s your favorite color, song, animal, etc.
Of course there are many other questions you could ask your future roommate but these are some of them to get you started. Once you’ve initiated contact through e-mail you can exchange phone numbers so you can further the conversation through text or by phone.
Texting is obviously very popular now and a great way to talk to people like your roommate. With texting you get notified right away and the person sees it and hopefully answers you back. Using e-mail might cause a long delay in response time because not everyone checks their e-mail regularly.
Let’s touch on texting etiquette for a minute. I suggest not txting lyke yur 12 nd just got a fone 4 the 1st tyme. Please please please text like you would normally speak and spell things correctly. You are in college now and you will probably still come across college students who text like that, it is a major turn off. You should be texting appropriately because believe it or not you might accidentally e-mail your professor in your text lingo or write a couple papers with “ppl” in it instead of people and not catch it. So condition yourself to text appropriately now so you won’t pay for it later.
Some of you might think FaceTiming your roommate to be a little weird but it might be a good experience. Yall can give tours of your homes and talk more in depth about plans on the color scheme of your dorm or what each of you are going to purchase to split the costs. You can show each other what you’ve already purchased for the dorm and bounce ideas off of each other.
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Some of you might live close to your future roommate so getting together in person is an option! If so I highly suggest doing it! Social media, texting, and e-mails don’t give you an accurate representation of a person. Only being with that person in person can. Meet up at a coffee shop for the first time and get to know each other a little more.
Another possibility is going shopping with them! Once you meet them and get to know them yall can plan shopping trips together to get things for your dorm room. This is a great way to bond with your roomie and see how you guys get along and interact with each other.
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Whatever way you decide to contact your roommate there are some key things you should maybe talk about.
- The best thing to do is stick to dorm room talk and getting to know each other. Yall have so much to learn about each other that yall can literally spend all summer doing so. There’s no need to ask 3 questions about their personality and then jump into room rules. You might find out after getting to know her that some of the rules you thought of aren’t applicable because that’s not the type of person she is.
- Yall can talk about the things yall have bought for the room so far and how excited, or nervous, you are to be going to college.
- You can talk about the color scheme of your things and maybe yall can coordinate off each other and match the room up.
- Yall can discuss who’s bringing what so you don’t bring doubles of things.
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- You can talk more about what you think college will be like and what you plan to do.
- You could also share with them things you do on the side, like I don’t know-run a blog. And yall could possibly bond over that if she is also into the same things.
Don’t get so much into the rules and expectations of the room because those conversations go better in person. That way you know how someone is saying something and you can read body their language while doing so. This way there is no miscommunication with how someone said something or the tone behind it. But you can still touch on some subjects such as:
- How neat/messy you are
- Are you a morning or night person
- How early of classes are you planning on taking
- Do you like to go out or are you more a homebody
- Do you have a boyfriend who will be frequently visiting
Use your own discretion on what else to talk about along those lines but remember to keep it simple.
Some Things to Avoid
- While you’re looking at their social media accounts I warn you not to touch for a while. You don’t have to follow all of their accounts and like every picture right away. It might come off like you’re trying too hard or a little creepy and that’s never a good first impression. Of course after yall have contacted each other following each other isn’t a bad thing nor is liking their things. I just caution you to take it lightly until there is a connection between you too. I’m sure yall will end up BFF’s but a friendship where you can be on a 200 day snap streak takes time, so does sending off-guard and random snaps unrequested.
- I suggest not going on a rant about everything you hate, don’t like, or expectations you have about the room from the jump. In my experience, those conversations are best done in person. When talking about expectations of the room you might come across a little pushy, rude, or demanding when describing things your roommate ‘should and shouldn’t do’.
- Of course you should be 100% honest 100% of the time but being honest with your roommate is even more important because if you lie to them about something she will find out sooner or later. If you tell your roommate that you love being tidy and then yall move into your dorm and your side of the room is always a mess your roommate will not be happy because she was expecting you to be clean. So be honest with your roommate. Tell her you are a little messy. She will appreciate your honesty more than she will dislike your messiness.
- On the other hand don’t be over the top with your roommate from the jump. Don’t e-mail her saying how OCD you are and how everything always has to be perfect all of the time. You will most likely freak her out. I do want you to tell her if you have OCD or any other medical issue because those are things that need to be said, but how you say it is the key. Tell her you have a cleanliness problem. Yall can compromise on how to keep the room clean while not making a big deal about it. Making it known then compromising together on how to solve it is better than saying how things will go and bossing her around. I’m sure she will be more than happy to accommodate you and your needs. Living with someone will require compromise and adjustments on both ends so make sure you are being flexible with your roommate’s requests and needs as she is being to yours.
- I’m sure you want to be best friends with your new roommate because it is that typical freshman year roommate thing where you move in with someone random and yall click instantly and become BFF’s and do everything together. That very well might happen but that also may not. The important thing is to get along with your roommate. If you worry about getting along with her before building a friendship the friendship will come a lot easier. Work on accommodating her and compromising with dorm living, because it isn’t easy your first time around. The more you are a friend to her the more she will be willing to be a friend to you.
Good luck meeting and talking to your new roommate! Be sure to wish me luck as well!