How to Get a Shy Roommate to Come Out of Their Shell

By Victoria Robertson

Living with roommates is a lifestyle adjustment that not all individuals are fully prepared for. That said, when living with a roommate that’s completely shy, the situation can be made all the more challenging.
However, that’s not to say you can’t help them to come out of their shell and make the most of both of your college experiences. For that reason, here are a few helpful tips to help get a shy roommate out of their shell.

Student Roommates: How to Get a Shy Roommate to Come Out of Their Shell
Photo Via Pixabay

Invite Them Out

First and foremost, when you have a shy roommate, they are likely not going to invite themselves to join you in your plans. For this reason, the first step to drawing a roommate out of their shell and into the world is to actually invite them, regardless of their typical response.

As you build your connection with them at home, inviting them out with you every time you can will suggest to them that you want them to join you, and you’re always willing to have them around. While they’ll likely say no more than a few times, it’s always nice to give them the option. Who knows, they may surprise you.

Adjust Your Plans to Their Interests

When your roommate is shy, they are likely to confine themselves to their comfort zone. So, rather than continually trying to force them to go out according to what you find fun, take the opportunity to listen to them and what they actually enjoy.

For instance, if they aren’t a big partier, but do like occasionally going out to the movies, meet them halfway and have a movie night at home with a few friends. Work together to figure out what works for both of you and make plans accordingly.

Build a Stronger Connection at Home

Your roommate is likely within their comfort zone at home with just you. For this reason, use the opportunity to strengthen the bond between you. Spend time together rather than separately. Take advantage of the fact that you live within close proximity.

When you build a stronger bond with each other at home, you’re more likely to want to do things together outside of the dorm or apartment.

Start Small

Again, shy roommates are less likely to agree to a loud party with a ton of people that they don’t know. So, when you begin inviting them to attend events and other happenings around campus, keep this in mind and instead, start small.

For instance, if you’re meeting a group of friends for a small study group for a gen ed you and your roommate are both taking, invite them to tag along. If you’re simply walking around campus for the evening, ask them to join you. Just take those baby steps to help them open up and get out there.

Be Willing to Compromise

With roommates, regardless of the situation, compromise is key. In other words, within this context, you shouldn’t always be doing what you want to do just because your roommate is shy.

Instead, open yourself up to the ideas that your roommate has. For instance, if they go out with you one weekend, the next weekend, opt to do what your roommate wants to do instead and maybe hang out at home for a quiet night in. Especially when your roommate is shy, when you do things that they enjoy, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with you.

Always Listen to Their Needs

Lastly, as alluded to previously, you should always be listening to your roommate’s needs, just as you are familiar with your own. Compromise is key, but listening is just as important.

If your roommate has suggested their uncomfortable in a certain context, or that there is a certain amount of time they need to open up, respect those wishes. While it’s okay to push them slightly outside their comfort zone, you should still be cognizant of what they want and respect their wishes. In other words, don’t push them into anything they aren’t willing to do.

Drawing a roommate out of their shell isn’t an easy feat, though it’s one that’s going to benefit the both of you in the long run. For this reason, when you’re living with an extremely shy individual, you should take these steps to help ease them out into the college experience.

That said, make sure you ease them into the situation and don’t force anything. Remember that they need to be in control of their actions, so you can only help them so far as they’re willing to be helped. That said, if you take these steps, not only will you both have much more fun, but you’ll also build a stronger bond that will likely last beyond your college experience.

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