Very soon, the local colleges here across Raleigh and the Triangle will all open up the dormitories across the various campuses for hundreds of incoming freshmen. All of them, fresh from all the similarities and routines of high school, will run into a common interpersonal situation that is as exciting as it might be challenging. It is the age old “new roommate” scenario. New friends and new relationships, often in tight quarters, can make the first few weeks of college an interesting one.
Getting along with roommates and hall mates has no secret formula. You get acquainted with others very quickly in these conditions. Others may have behaviors you have not seen before; some might be destructive in behavior and the actions happen in full view of everyone on the floor. Although everyone can make poor choices such as drinking too much or sleeping through classes, it is always good to have a clear head and be a good friend in these situations.
Here are a few ways to be an instant good friend and keep some degree of your own sanity:
- Always: offer emotional support with both compassion and honest concern.
- Never: invalidate their problems with blunt comments or insensitive statements like “knock it off” or “snap out of it.”
- Always: offer positive resources you can recommend that will be helpful and supportive. If there is a need, speak in confidence to the resident counselor.
- Never: try to take responsibility or try to solve the problem yourself.
- Always: acknowledge what is going on and take care of your own needs first. Get support for yourself as well. Discuss the situation with a counselor, or seek guidance form student counseling services.
- Never: pretend you do not notice and don’t ignore or excuse the behavior. Never cover up actions. For example, if your roommate has a hangover, don’t offer to turn in a paper or assignment for him/her.
Your first year of college life is a chapter of your life you will never forget. We have some of the best universities right here in the Triangle. You will meet the best people and have friends for life. Helping people learn and grow in the right way is the best thing anyone can do for a friend.
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