6 Ways to Find Alone Time When Living with Roommates

By Alicia Geigel

Living with roommates is not always easy, especially if you are someone who appreciates and values being alone versus spending time with others in a social setting. Between having guests over and constant noise floating around, it can become easy to be overwhelmed in your own space and find little time to yourself when sharing a dorm or apartment with other people.

If you’re someone who is more on the introverted side, likes alone time, or needs to unwind after a long day or week, here are six tips to make your life easier!

Roommates: 6 Ways to Find Alone Time When Living with Roommates

1. Be Open About Your Boundaries: The key to any great roommate relationship, especially is communication. To help find alone time, it is important for you to establish clear boundaries with your roommates about what makes you uncomfortable as well as your general approach to things. Needing space, having quiet time, staying home rather than going out, having company over, etc., are all things that you can discuss with your roommates to help them understand your needs and foster an environment that makes everyone happy together. Though it might be awkward or uncomfortable to discuss these things at first, getting these boundaries out in the open and off your chest is far better than having a resentful relationship with your roommates.

2. Show Friendliness to Your Roommates: Whether you are more introverted or just need time by yourself, finding time alone doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to ignore or be disrespectful to your roommates. Though it is obvious, remember to be friendly with your roommates. A simple smile and wave when you cross paths in your apartment can show your roommates that you respect them enough to engage with them, even on a small scale level. In addition, you can be friendly with your roommates by doing small acts of kindness, like making them coffee in the morning, preparing a meal while they’re gone, tidying up if they have been busy, or even writing a handwritten note of encouragement.

3. Set Aside Time to Recharge: It can be easy to become overwhelmed when you do activities that require a lot of social interaction, such as going to a party, having a group study session, or simply hanging out with your roommates at home. Regardless of the activity, it is important to take time to “recharge” and unwind alone. This could take form in many different ways but can include listening to music, watching a movie or TV show, journaling, doing crafts or coloring, reading a book, or taking a nap. Allowing yourself to calm any feelings of anxiety, stress, or overstimulation can help you better cope with your roommate relationship in general!

4. Find a Space to Decompress: Figuring out activities to de-stress and decompress is oftentimes far easier than settling on a space to do so. Sharing an apartment or dorm with your roommates can make it difficult to have privacy and get some time to yourself. An important part of managing living with roommates is finding your own safe space to be by yourself, which can be anywhere! Per OutPost, “Whether it’s a local coffee shop, park, or even a mall you like to wander around, there’s always somewhere quiet to be found in the throng of a city. Take a stroll around your neighborhood or Google ‘quiet spaces’ in the area for inspiration.”

5. Purchase Noise Canceling Headphones: Living with roommates can often get loud, and if you’re someone who is sensitive to loud sounds like talking, laughing, music, the TV, etc., you can easily become overwhelmed in your apartment. You can gently ask your roommates to lower the volume at nighttime or during hours you need to study/work, but it is definitely worth it to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. This way, you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of your favorite music or a YouTube video while your roommates can carry on without worrying if they’re being too loud.

6. Venture Out of Your Comfort Zone Occasionally: Though you may have lifestyle differences with your roommates, you can still enjoy quality time with them- after all, you live together! Reserving alone time for yourself is important, but it can also be good for you to take a leap and go out of your comfort zone on occasion. Arrange a weekly date with your roommates to catch up, cook a meal together, sit down and watch a show that is everyone’s favorite, or even take a trip to the grocery store! Anything that gives you some quality time with roommates is a great idea. Doing this can not only break up your solo routine, but it can also make your roommates feel closer to you.

When sharing a space, you are bound to have differences with your roommates, but these six tips will help you manage these differences while building a healthy relationship with them and giving yourself time to be alone!

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