The Trial Period.
When you first set up your household, there should be a period of time in which you and your roommate(s) concentrate on just being yourselves and living the way you want (within reason, of course). Do not try to anticipate your roommate's likes and dislikes. If you have always listened to the stereo for an hour before falling asleep, now is not the time to change the habit just because you don't think your roommate will like it. The idea is to do the things you want to do and feel comfortable doing.
Likes And Dislikes.
During the trial period, keep a list (mentally or on paper) of the things your roommate does that bug you, and things you think are terrific. Don't get hung up on the negatives. If you think the fact that your roomie can smile first thing in the morning is great, tell them so. By the same token, if the sound of Bruce Springsteen at 6:00 a.m. makes you queasy, now is the time to talk about it.
After a week or two of "doing what comes naturally," and making your respective lists, you should set aside some time for a long talk about the ways your living styles clash or go well together. Be honest, but avoid calling the other person or his ideas petty, wrong, or anything else derogatory. Frankly discuss what you cannot tolerate, are indifferent to, or really enjoy. Where your differences are severe, you must both compromise, or it could be one very, very long year together. Now is the time to complete a Roommate Contract. Neither your life-style, nor that of your roomie, is inherently good or bad, just different. Tread gently on another's ego.
After You Talk It Out.
Although you have talked out your problems, and maybe made some compromises, you are far from finished. Keep the lines of communication open. If something new bothers you, or your compromises are just not working, talk to your roommate. The idea is to keep life running smoothly.
Many roommates try to have pre-planned household meetings periodically (maybe once or twice a month) so they can sit down over coffee or dinner and talk business. Besides talking about your personal problems or accomplishments, this is a good time to decide things like who is going to deal with the landlord when something needs to be fixed.
Living with someone else is not just a matter of hanging in there until June. It means really working at having a place you feel good about coming home to after a long day on campus or at work.
About the Author
dan the roommate man