How to Properly Say Goodbye to a Roommate

By Alicia Geigel

There’s an age-old saying that goes something like, “When one door closes, another one opens.” Living with a roommate while in college is one of the only predictable things about the college experience, and throughout your time in college, you’ll more than likely experience your fair share of roomies. While you may have thought your freshman-year bestie was in it for the long run, differences in lifestyle or drastic changes could put you back in the market for seeking a new roommate and saying goodbye to your old one.

Goodbyes are never easy, but when the time comes, here are a few ways to send your roomie off in a happy, friendly way!

Roommate Finder: How to Properly Say Goodbye to a Roommate

Before the Roommate Leaves
1. Talk the Decision Out: A change in your living situation, especially if a roommate plans to leave, can affect you mentally and emotionally. When your roommate breaks the news that they plan to leave and move out, have a sit down just to discuss their plans, the future of your living situation, and of course, any emotions that the two of you may be feeling. You want the relationship and situation to end on a good note, so this is the time to voice how you feel, ask any questions and get concrete answers, and understand the change.
2. Go to Dinner: Once the serious conversation and sit down are out of the way, a great way to say goodbye to your roommate is by going out to dinner together. Whether you go to a fancy restaurant or a casual dine-in place, taking the time to get away from your apartment and enjoy each other’s company is a great opportunity to unwind and have fun together. Order some unique drinks, try a meal out of your norm, and don’t forget to take pictures to document the occasion.
3. Host a Party: Parties don’t have to be reserved for birthdays, and another way to say goodbye to your roommate is by hosting a going-away party! If your roommate isn’t into surprises, inform them of your plans to make sure they’re ok with it. Otherwise, keep the party a secret. Gather your friends together, put together an eclectic mix of music, get decorations, and don’t forget about the food! If ordering out or catering is too expensive, ask some of your friends to bring a few appetizers and entrees for a potluck-style gathering.
4. Help Them Pack and Clean the Apartment: A big part of moving out is de-cluttering, cleaning out your space, and packing up your belongings. Outside of the emotional weight of moving, the hectic nature of packing can be stressful, and helping your roommate deal with this is just another way to show them you care. Offer to get moving supplies like boxes and tape, help them pack their clothes, appliances, and toiletries, and try to clean furnishings, vacuum their bedroom, etc. to take some of the burden away.
After the Roommate Leaves
1. Keep in Touch: Just because your roommate moves away, doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain a relationship with them after they leave. While your schedules may not always line up, time can always be made to talk from time to time. Send text messages regularly, FaceTime or Skype on occasion, or write letters to keep in touch. Reminisce on the times you both had while living together, update one another on new things going on in your life, or even watch a movie or TV show to rekindle your old bond.
2. Arrange to Get Together: Whether your old roommate has moved a few miles down the road or to another state, finding time to get together can be difficult. Work, school, home responsibilities, family, etc. can fill up your time and create a busy schedule, so it’s important to be understanding of each others’ obligations. Nonetheless, if you both can carve out time in your schedules to go out to dinner, see a movie, grab a cup of coffee, etc., these small hangouts are just another way to keep the connection going and deal with any feelings of sadness that you both may be experiencing. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to have fun if you’re dealing with stress in life.
3. Find a New Roommate: Finding the right roommate for you can sometimes be a challenge- it’s a big decision! Living with someone other than immediate family or what you are used to isn’t always easy, but if you search for a roommate through trustworthy avenues and do your best to compromise in the areas of chores, cleanliness, communication, privacy, and paying bills, the living situation for the two of you will be stress-free and comfortable. While you are bound to run into some problems along the way, just remember to talk it out and try to see the situation from your roommate’s perspective. And remember, your old roommate will always be around to listen to and understand your potential problems!

Going from living with a roommate to dealing with them moving out is a large adjustment, and at times, proves to be difficult. If you do your best to help them before the move and keep in touch afterward, it will be a smooth experience all around!

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