If you’re an introvert, the odds are good that you’re not thrilled with the concept of living with your first college roommate.
Hey, this is a big transition. And, understandably, you’re nervous about it.
However, you’re very likely to find that this new living situation won’t have to be the nightmare it sounds like.
Yes, even you — a bonafide introvert, can indeed live peacefully and anxiety-free with your first college roommate.
In this post, you’re going to learn five tips to make this experience not only bearable but also positive, productive, and rewarding.
1. Be Honest With Yourself About Your Space Needs
As an introvert, you doubtlessly have social limits that can stress you out and cause anxiety if you push them too far.
At the very least, socializing beyond your limits can be exhausting.
For this reason, it’s vitally important to use your feelings as a measurement tool when determining what you can and can’t do as a roommate.
It’s essential to understand your limits and be honest about the space you require to maintain your energy levels.
You don’t have to pretend you’re an extrovert because you’re moving in with another student.
Understanding your social limitations is the first step to a successful relationship with your roommate.
2. Communicate Your Needs With Your New Roommate
Many introverts struggle to communicate their basic requirements with the people who live near them.
For many introverts, communicating about their introversion can cause a lot of anxiety.
Try getting into the habit of communicating your needs with your roommate from the start. You’ll set yourself up for a much easier and friendlier relationship in the long run.
In turn, the relationship will tend to stress you out much less.
For example, let’s say you’re starting to feel socially overwhelmed by the proximity to your roommate. Try expressing your feelings verbally — in a very non-judgmental and non-discriminatory fashion.
“I’m feeling super introverted today. I may just stay in my room and spend time alone.”
“I’m feeling really overwhelmed today. Can you turn down your music or listen with headphones so that I can maintain peace and quiet in my room?”
These are very diplomatic ways to talk about your feelings. And respectfully communicating your feelings establishes a positive relationship with your roommate.
3. Be Honest & Understanding As You Negotiate Boundaries
Make it a habit to be honest about the boundaries you need. At the same time, be keen to listen when your roommate talks about their limitations as well.
It’s also crucial the two of you keep reasonability at the forefront of your interactions.
For example, your bedroom is off-limits to anyone else. That’s where you go when you want to spend time alone.
But communal areas, like the kitchen and the living room, may not work for such stringent limitations.
It’s unreasonable to suggest that your roommate doesn’t watch TV in the living room. But it is entirely acceptable to ask your roommate not to enter your room while you’re trying to be alone.
It’s imperative to navigate these things with honesty and understanding for each other.
4. Be Open About How You Feel As An Introvert
We’ve already covered this a little bit, but now, you’ll go even a step beyond stating your basic feelings. It’s time to have intentional conversations with your roommate about the types of things you feel as an introvert.
For example, there might be particular things that really exhaust you.
Now, you may not be able to keep your roommate from doing all these things. You can’t control what others do, of course.
But you can be open and vulnerable and communicate about your specific type of introversion with your roommate. This gives them a sense of what they could do to improve your living situation.
When you supply this information in a friendly and conversational manner, your roommate may very likely take some or all of it into account. And when they do, they can change their behavior to make the living experience better for both of you.
And of course, at the same time, it’s also in your own best interest to also be open to listening to your roommate so that you can do the same for them.
5. Make A Plan If Things Go South
You’re going to live with this roommate for at least a semester — if not one or more years. If you can change roommates if things don’t go as planned, that’s awesome.
But not every student has this option.
What do you do if you hit a rough patch and need to get away?
Well, this isn’t always easy to figure out, which is why it’s vital to make a plan.
Retreating to your room for quiet time could work in circumstances where you start to feel really overwhelmed.
If you have a close friend who might let you stay with them from time to time, make a plan to text them if you start to get overwhelmed at home. Ask them if you can come over, sit quietly for a bit, and recharge your batteries.
You can even plan to go to other quiet places, like a study hall or library, just to spend some time away from other people and be by yourself.
Being an introvert isn’t always easy.
Introverts value peace, quiet, and seclusion.
This is why living with someone as an introvert can be incredibly challenging.
But with these five tips, you maximize your potential for success while minimizing the potential for disaster.
You’ll also gain valuable experience to help you get better at living with other people.
So look at it as a valuable learning opportunity, and try to stay positive. It may not be smooth sailing, but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Ames to help them with their online marketing.