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How to Get To Know Your Roommate (Virtually!)

By Jessica Ward

College is on the horizon, and things are about to get real; mid-summer is dorm room assignment season! When that email comes through, you’ll have butterflies in your stomach and an enormous smile stretched ear-to-ear. And what’s more, you’ll find out who your roommate is going to be! While you may be nervous, you don’t have to wait all summer long to get to know them. Here’s our advice on how to virtually make the most of your summer with your new roomie.

1. Introduce yourself on social media
It’s not weird to look them up online, we promise. In fact, they probably already looked through your Instagram. As awkward as it might be, someone has to break the ice. Send them a friend request or give them a follow, along with a short message saying who you are and why you reached out. No need to tell your life story, a simple “hey! I’m (your name) and it looks like we’re roommates” will suffice, and now the ball is in their court.

2. Ask simple questions about their life
Once they respond, the goal is to find common ground with them. Ask what they’re majoring in, about favorite bands and movies, hobbies, pets, etc.. Somewhere in these topics should lie some shared interest or experience. It might feel like a game of 20, maybe even 50 Questions at first, but once the conversation gets flowing, it won’t be so bad anymore!

3. Express excitement for the upcoming semester
Positivity plays a huge role in making a good first impression. Even if your interests seem different from theirs, you do share one thing right off the bat— you’re going to the same college! Talk about what you’re excited to experience, from the surrounding college town to why you chose your program at this school. Excitement is contagious, so share what’s making you eager to start the semester! And don’t forget to ask them what they look forward to too!

4. Talk about current events and pop culture
Did you see this year’s Bonnaroo lineup? How about the Olympics? Yes, you want to know your roommate’s story, but there’s so much going on in the world right now! Asking for their thoughts on what’s happening is another great way to see the world through their eyes.

5. Ask them to Zoom
Talking through text or DM isn’t for everyone, and some people have a hard time following conversations without actually seeing who they’re talking to. It might be a good idea to ask if they’d prefer to talk over the phone or Zoom so that everyone can be more comfortable. This also works if you two hit it off immediately and just can’t wait to see each other!

Well that’s great, but what if it is awkward? What if they don’t respond at all?

There are all kinds of difficulties when it comes to meeting someone virtually; maybe they don’t use Facebook all that much, maybe they’re working all summer, maybe they’re nervous. It’s easier said than done, but try not to read too much into why they appear distant. You’ll drive yourself crazy doing that! Things are likely to improve once you actually move in together and communicate on a regular basis. Even so, remember that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate— you only have to keep a positive, safe place for both of you to live.

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