An Introvert's Guide To Living With A Roommate

By Danielle Wirsansky 

For many students, college is seen as a kind of Valhalla. It is a place to be free and independent, to both make and find yourself, and to live as you have always wanted to. But there are some downsides to going to college (at least for some people), like having to move to or exist in a new location, having to create a new community, having a new schedule, and having to talk to and be around a lot of people. For some people, these aspects are also incredibly positive—they are indicative of a new adventure! But for other people, they can seem rather draining.

Living with a roommate can be difficult, no matter your personality type. But for introverts, having to live with a new, perhaps random, roommate can be especially difficult. Urban Dictionary defines an introvert as: “An introvert prefers to spend time alone in order to recharge their inner being. An introvert may appear to be shy to others, but that is not necessarily an accurate label. Being among groups of friends, family and even strangers can be wonderfully stimulating and joyous occasions. Interacting with people and attention to multiple sources of stimuli tends to draw down an introvert's energy causing them to eventually withdraw to spend time alone to re-energize. Small talk and pointless conversations tend to draw down an introvert's energy rapidly.”

Understanding what an introvert is can help delineate why it can be hard for introverts to live with a roommate. But understanding is half the battle and there are strategies any introvert can employ to make their living situation as smooth and stress free as possible. Read on for an introvert’s guide to living with a roommate!


Get To Know Your Roommate

If your roommate is either a randomly selected on or someone that you know (but maybe not that well), take the time to actually get to know them. The moving in process is rough, the first week of school is tough, the whole semester will be tough. It might be easy to keep pushing off getting to know your roommate until you are less stressed or busy because the getting to know someone process is already draining enough on its own.

But making getting to know your roommate a priority as soon as you move in will help to decrease stressful situations that could be caused later down the line if you do not. You do not have to be the best of friends and you certainly do not have to know everything about them or even talk to them all of the time. But you should be able to communicate openly and clearly with them. You should set a positive vibe and dynamic between you in the apartment. You should clearly decide, agree on, and lay out rules and guidelines to keep your cohabitation harmonious.

So get to know your roommate, even just a little. It will be a lot less stressful in the long run.


Separation of Space

As an introvert, you usually need time to yourself in order to recharge. So do not be afraid to create a separation of space between you and your roommate so that you know that you have a safe space to retreat to when you need it. You are not shutting your roommate out. Sometimes you just need a quiet, peaceful time and place to yourself.

Your room is often your best bet. Some people like to keep their bedroom doors open or to have their friends and roommates come hang out in their rooms. Maybe that will not be the best plan for you though. You can be friendly and sociable in the common spaces like the living room and kitchen. But you can make your room off limits so that you have a space that is solely yours and is not to be invaded.


Emerge From Your Room

When you do not know your roommate very well, it can be easier to just retreat into your room and not come out. That way you are at peace and can feel less drained. But the apartment is yours too and you should not have to give up your claim on it to feel at peace.

And even if your room is the place you need to recharge, it is not healthy to spend all of your time in it. Emerge from your warm cocoon of solitude and remember to embrace the world.

College is hard, but you can make it easier rather than harder if you are an introvert following this guide. Take care of yourself but be sure to try and push your own boundaries as well—finding a good balance while in college will help set the tone for the rest of your life.

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