4 Benefits of Rooming with a Stranger in College

Sharing a room with a good friend sounds like the perfect scenario, right? Wrong.

Living with a person interjects all kinds of issues that don’t necessarily come up in a friendship. Potential hot buttons like room cleanliness, respecting another person’s sleep requirements, and personal privacy all come into play in the roommate relationship, introducing a level of conflict that a close friendship may not be able to withstand.

In addition to preserving your existing friendships, there are other benefits to living with a stranger in college.

1. You start out with a clean slate.

Any friendship that has stood the test of time has a “history.” Maybe your friend dated your ex-boyfriend once, or he or she is always late.

By living with a stranger, you can enter a shared living arrangement without the baggage that can further complicate an already conflict-prone relationship. In addition, you can be the person you “truly are” rather than the person you think your friends want you to be.

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2. There are very few expectations.

Some roommates hit it off instantly and the relationship transitions seamlessly from roommate to friend. Other roommates start the school year as strangers and essentially finish as strangers due to conflicting schedules or lifestyles.

Roommates who are strangers often adopt a “no harm, no foul” approach to the relationship, alleviating any expectation that the two of you will be best friends. In this way, the relationship can either develop naturally into a friendship or the two of you can part ways with minimal hurt feelings and animosity.

3. You will be exposed to new people and experiences.

Your social circle will immediately expand when you live with a stranger. If you don’t immediately hit it off with your roommate, perhaps you will learn more about him or her as you interact with your roommate’s friends, and eventually grow to appreciate this “stranger.”

4. You may become good friends.

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Roommates can potentially go through a lot together. Even roommates that don’t become fast friends will still grow as they learn how to interact with a person who may be very different. As a result of living with a stranger, you may make the best friend of your life.

Roommates who were once strangers can become best friends. However, best friends who become roommates may end up being arch enemies. To preserve your existing friendships and perhaps experience less conflict along the way, consider living with a stranger. It may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.