Lauren Saccone
November 26, 2016 11:42 am
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The college roommate relationship is a complicated one. That’s why it’s important to know what questions to ask your college roommate when you first move in to keep everyone on the same page and prevent dorm life from turning into the stuff nightmares are made of. On one hand, you’re stuck with this person for the foreseeable future, so you need to make the best of it. On the other, how well do you really know this person you’ll be living with during part of your academic career?

Make sure to ask these key questions to your college roommate if you want to keep the peace during the school year.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

Nothing makes a living situation go from friendly to homicidal faster than someone’s sleep schedule getting disrupted. A cranky roommate is bad for everyone.

How do you feel about parties?

If you’re both into a serious good time, you may have found the ideal college roommate; ditto if you both prefer a quiet night in to hitting the clubs. Otherwise, you should probably work out some sort of rules regarding guests and loud music.

Are you cool with overnight guests?

If you want to have your significant other spend the night (or just that cutie you’ve been talking to on Tinder), make sure that your roommate is at least aware of the situation. There are few things more awkward than having to introduce your college roommate to that dude from the club whose name you can’t quite recall in the morning.

Did you steal my food?

Admittedly, this isn’t the most diplomatic way to go about discovering what happened to your missing snacks. But in college, food is serious business. If you think your roommate is swiping your emergency rations, address the issue before it turns into an all-out war.

How do you feel about chores?

A chore wheel is great and good, so long as everyone is on board. If your roommate is slacking off and things are starting to smell, consider having a frank discussion about your living situation. And don’t put the dirty dishes in her bed. Trust me.

Is sharing an option?

It’s good to get an idea of your college roommate’s attitude towards communal items. You can end up sharing clothes, furniture, and assorted appliances. But make sure the boundaries are clear, and if your roomie doesn’t want to be generous, don’t push it. Overstepping boundaries is the easiest way to end up in a hostile living situation.

Hot or cold?

We’re talking about the room temperature, of course. This may seem like a small concern — until you wake up at 4AM freezing to death, while your roommate happily snores away under a mass of blankets.

What are you studying?

This question serves multiple purposes: it lets you get to know your roommate a little bit better, and gives you something to bond over. Even if you’re not studying the same topic, you and your roommate can relate to the stress and pressure of schoolwork. And who knows? Maybe a late-night cram session (complete with panicked research) is the bonding experience that will turn your college roommate into a true friend.

Remember, using your words and actually talking about issues is way better than letting things fester and get weird before finals. If you’re having problems, speak up. Or forever be destined to awkward silences (and someone eating your mac and cheese).

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