One of the best parts of college is getting to live with a total and utter stranger… said no one ever. In the very beginning, it can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. How do you politely tell them to keep their feet off the table when you’re eating or to not watch Stranger Things 4 around you because you’re not caught up yet? More importantly, how do you befriend a complete stranger?
In all honesty, it may be easier than you expect, but it may also be harder. People tend to be pretty unique and there’s no right answer for this situation. However, there are some constants that can help you take those steps to befriending your new roommate and make your transitions easier.
If possible, communicate with them before you move in
You’re going to find it’s a lot easier to meet someone new if you’ve already, sort of, met them. As soon as you find out who your roommate is: Shoot them some texts and if you’re both close enough maybe even get a coffee together. This is going to give you a chance to get familiar with them before you move in with them. This will give you time to find some common interests, set some boundaries and establish that you’re only half way through Stranger Things 3 and you want zero spoilers for the fourth.
Take those baby steps
Don’t just ignore them if you can’t find things to talk about; find little reasons to talk to them. Tell them good morning, ask how their classes went, if they’ve read this week’s issue of The Daily News or are up-to-date on the lastest TikTok trend. Even if it ends up being a one-sided conversation, taking those baby steps can be important to help you get more comfortable being around them, and may even make them more comfortable around you.
No friendship starts off really strong, it needs time to build and grow. But you also need to work to get to know your roommate so they feel less like a stranger and more like a friend.
Hang out together
Pick a spot to chat and grab a snack! There are two Starbucks locations on campus, a few dining halls and the restaurants in The Village. Whatever you choose, make sure to spend time with your roommate. This can be fun for you and them, and help you guys get familiar not just with each other and Ball Statel. Spending time out of the dorm room with one another can give you the chance to learn about your roommate in a different environment and help your relationship grow.
Interview someone from the counseling center for tips on how to get along with your roommate
There’s no shame in being awkward or nervous. Speak to some of the professionals at the Ball State Counseling Center who can help you break the ice. Don’t be shy if you need the extra help, schedule an appointment today. The counselors are here to help you in whatever ways they can.
Interview an RA
RA’s are here to help you and there no stranger to awkward situations. Even if it’s a minor situation like: “Help! I have nothing in common with this person and I think they think I’m weird!” They most likely have some tips and advice. Your RA has once been a freshman living with a stranger too, so they can give you first-hand advice on how to get along.
Walk around campus and find your classes together
Why not? You’re both probably new to campus and it helps to have a buddy. Don’t freak out if it’s awkwardly silent on your way to class, just spend time with them and make conversation when the opportunity arises.
Take a trip to Downtown
There’s plenty of fun things to do in the downtown area of Muncie. What are those things? Well check out their website here. It’s very unlikely you won’t find at least one or two things you and your roommate will enjoy.
Art is something that brings us together as individuals. Although that’s a cheesy thing to say, there is some truth to that statement. The David Owsley Art Museum (DOMA) is a great way to experience different cultures, delve into the past or geek out about the katana section. Like I said, art brings us together as individuals; for some that’s as artists while for others its as anime fans. Either way, you likely won’t be disappointed by your time at DOMA. If you’re unsure, take a virtual tour and check out the neat artifacts to see if this is right for you.
Visit the Activity Fair Together
During welcome week, you’ll find that between 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jo Ann Gora Student and Recreation and Wellness Center (jeez that’s a mouthful) multiple clubs and student organizations will be looking to recruit. Go with your roommate to help each other find some neat clubs to join. This is a great way to learn about each other’s interests and maybe even find some things you two have in common.