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So You’ve Run Out of Things to Talk About with Your Roommate...

By Jessica Ward

So, you’re all moved in. You’ve picked your bed and unpacked (most of) your things, and your parents are back on the road headed home. Now it’s just you and the person you met a few hours ago in one tiny room, and neither of you have a thing to say. What now? Don’t panic.

1. Invite them to the dining hall later
Ever wonder why so many first dates are over dinner? It’s because conversation happens so naturally with food- what you like, what you don’t, observations of your surroundings, etc. You just had the crazy shared experience of moving in— take this time to debrief and express your excitement for the semester (and four years!) ahead.

2. Ask them to find their classrooms with you
Talk about killing two birds with one stone! It’s always wise to have an idea of where your classes are beforehand so you’re not scrambling to find your way on the first day. This is the time to really get to know your roommate and what they’re studying. Even if they’re getting their general 101 classes out of the way, you can learn a lot about why they chose the classes they did. You might even learn you’re taking a class together!

3. Show a genuine interest in their life
If there’s a band poster hanging over their bed, you have the perfect opportunity to ask about their interests. Even if you don’t know the band, ask for recommendations, and actually give them a try! You may have a new favorite band and a new best friend by the end of the week. Same goes for pictures of family, friends, pets, etc. They’re like windows into your roommate’s personal life. You’ll hear funny stories from prom and family cookouts, and you’ll get to share your own.

4. Share your expectations with them
If one of you is an early riser and the other’s earliest class is at noon, that’s something you’ll want to talk about— alarms going off at 7am can be annoying, so try to find a way to minimize disruption that works for both of you. Talk about studying habits as well as time you’ll want the room to be quiet so they know not to bring a friend over. Invite them to do the same. Keep in mind that these expectations may change over the course of the semester, this is just a good way to avoid any potential problems down the line.

5) Watch Netflix!
Move-in day is insane. You’ll probably be tired. Find a show, movie, or documentary you both like and just relax for a little bit.

And a word of advice…
Your roommate might become your best friend, and they might not. Either is okay and totally natural. If they’re not receptive to your kindness and interest in their life, know it’s not personal and you’ve done everything you can. The important thing is you create and maintain a positive environment for the both of you. Regardless, you’ll make friends during your first year and beyond, so don’t let any possible roommate drama ruin your experience. You’ll find your people in no time!

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