Talking to your roommate for the first few times can be a little stressful. There’s so much you want to know and so much you need to say in so little time. After the somewhat awkward first interaction you and your roommate have, these are the first X questions you should ask your roommate.
Getting to Know Them
After you ask your roommates name and their favorite color, these are the basic questions.
1// How Would You Describe Yourself in 5 Words?
A kind of quirky, ice-breaker that’s very low pressure. Ultimately, it’s great way to start a first time conversation because it gives you an idea of what they think is important.
2// Your Top 5 Pet Peeves?
I’m sure everyone has a mile-long list of things that drive them absolutely insane. Putting a limit makes sure that you get the most important stuff first.
3// What’s Your Major?
It’s a fun and simple question that gives you a little insight into who you’ll be living with. And, more importantly, it can jump start a really fun conversation about future careers and dreams?
4// What are Your Favorite Movies/TV Shows?
Just from this question, my roommate and I had an almost 30-minute conversation about her love of musicals and my love of action movies. By the end, we had a list of movies that the other just had to see. I wish we had written it down because it would be so cool to look back on it. Regardless, we did end up watching my picks: Magic Mike XXL (not an action movie, I know) and The Bourne Identity and her picks: Rent and The Princess Bride.
If you or your roommate are really passionate about TV or movies, you’re bound to have something to do on the Friday’s when going out isn’t an option.
5// What are Your Favorite Books/Bands?
Like the question above, you can spend ages talking about this. And sending fun suggestions to each other before move-in and jamming to them together.
6// How Neat are You?
Hopefully your cleanliness levels match, but if they don’t, it’s better to know now rather than in 3 weeks when they haven’t taken that one shirt off the floor.
7// Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
This can be followed up by asking what results they got on their Myers-Brigg test, if they’ve taken it. If not, at least you know what kind of person you’re dealing with. And just how often you’ll be seeing your roommate or how often random people will be in your room.
8// Are You Dating Anyone?
While it may seem kind of personal for someone you might have never seen face to face, it’s important. You might be seeing a lot of that person and you’ll definitely want to know well in advance.
9// Do You Have Any Allergies?
This will have a surprising effect on what you and your roommate can bring into the room. As someone who has a lot of allergies, there are foods that my roommate couldn’t even bring into our dorm. Or maybe the perfume or hairspray you really love, could trigger your roommate’s anaphylaxis. Keep you and your roommate healthy.
10// Who’s Bringing What?
There’s no point to having two mini fridges or mirrors or TVs. Save yourself the money and the effort of having to return stuff by asking first.
This is also the perfect time to ask about color schemes, if you’re planning on having one. My roommate and I didn’t ever bring it up but we ended up with a black and white theme anyway. Honestly, a coordinating room isn’t necessary and may just end up being stressful. If you don’t care, don’t bring it up unless they do.
Related: The Ultimate College Packing List
11// Are You Rushing?
At my university, rushing happened the day after Move-In Day and lasted a whole week. Basically, I didn’t get to really hang out with my roommate for the first week. But it did mean there were several days that I woke up to my roommate attempting to quietly get dressed at 5 in the morning. I’m a light sleeper so it didn’t work but it’s the thought that counts.
If your roommate’s rushing, just know that you won’t hang out with them very much during that time. Unless you’re going to be rushing too. In which case, you have a friend to share in the 5 am wake-up calls.
12// What’s the Policy on Sharing?
You’ll definitely want to know whether or not you can just use their coffee maker in the morning or borrow their straightener. Avoid a potentially awkward situation by getting the sharing policy set up from day one.
Because my roommate was on meal plan, she had a lot more appliances than I did. We both agreed that asking before using was the policy that would usually be met with a yes. But every roommate situation will be different.
13// How Should We Resolve a Conflict?
This is another policy that should be established from day one. It can save you from hurt feelings and resentment.
Some roommates have a weekly meeting. Others just say it in the moment. If you’re particularly adverse to confrontation, writing it down on a note and handing it to them might be better. Whatever it is, make sure it works for both of you.
14// What’s the Sexiling Policy?
Yet another policy that should be established day one. You shouldn’t be getting kicked out of your room every night or every other night. You paid money for that room, you deserve to sleep there too.
I’ve seen roommate agreements end mid-way through the year because of this. Make sure to set clear boundaries on what you’re comfortable with from day one.
15// Do You Have a General Bedtime
This is important to know when you’re going to need to start being really quiet and turn off the lights. Living with someone else is all about being considerate and respectful of your roommate’s desire to sleep.
16// Are You a Morning Dove or a Night Owl?
I’m a definite morning person and my roommate was a night owl. But it wasn’t a problem because we understood that we needed to be quite during both of those of times so the other could sleep. Headphones were a must before 8 am and after 11 pm to be respectful. And we couldn’t slam the microwave close or let it beep for very long either. All about being respectful.
17// When and How Do You Study?
Do you or your roommate need absolute silence when they study? Do they only study at night (aka me) or throughout the day? Studying is like sleep, it is a universally respected time. Take the time to figure out what they need and accommodate it and they should do the same for you
18//How Often Will Your Family/Friends Visit?
This dictates how often you’ll be kicked out of the room. Or whether you’re going to be best friends with their parents by the end of the year.
19// What Temperature Do You Want to Keep the Room?
My roommate’s from California so she likes things to be a little cooler than the heat-loving Southerner that I am. It took a little while to get this to a comfortable temperature where I wasn’t constantly freezing and she wasn’t sweltering.
Save yourself from this problem and have this conversation beforehand.
20// How Modest Are You?
How comfortable are you with me walking around in a t-shirt and underwear? Is shirtless okay with you or would you prefer if I were in clothes all the time?
Are you okay with me swearing? Are their words that make you really uncomfortable?
Honestly this question saved me from having to trek my clothes all the way to the shower because I knew I could get undressed and dressed in our room and walk the halls in my towel. Both my roommate and I were comfortable with the other wearing a shirt and underwear around the room so we stayed cool without having to turn on the AC. And we both swore like sailors which was quite fun, to be honest.
21// What Conversations are Off Limits?
Maybe your roommate isn’t comfortable talking about religion. Or you might not want to talk about politics. Whatever it is, let the other person know so it doesn’t ever become an issue.
And if there are no conversations that are off limits, ask about their religious beliefs or political leanings. You might learn something fun or bond over similar ideas and beliefs. My roommate and I had so much fun talking about politics the entire year (despite the election fiasco).
So these 20 questions will start you and your roommate off on the right foot. In no time, you’ll have the best relationship and, hopefully, a new BFF. And if not, at least you and your roommate will be on the same page and there will be minimal conflicts as you live together.
What are some essential roommate questions? What were some funny questions you asked your roommate?
I’m so sorry that this is two weeks late. I had this post and one other scheduled on time but something happened and neither of them went out as planned. One more thing to add to my ever growing to-do fix list. But I’m back in the States and there are some awesome posts headed your way