Say what you will, but getting a new roommate is always nerve-wracking. As your move-in date gets closer and closer (and arrives), you start asking yourself a million questions: Will your roomie’s mess penetrate your personal space bubble? Are you going to be sexiled every weekend? Will your roommate be able to tolerate your less-than-normal sleeping habits? Most importantly, will the two of you become friends, or will the room be plagued with a perpetual awkward silence?
Unless you’re a lone wolf, you’ll definitely prefer the former. Easier said than done, right? Not necessarily. With our fun ways to bond with your new roomie, the two of you may become as close as Monica and Rachel.
1. Volunteer together
After years of volunteering to beef up your college application, you made a riveting discovery: community service is fun. Honestly, is there anything better than helping out others? Not only will you get to bond with your roommate, but the two of you will also be giving back to your college community. Most universities have loads of community service opportunities, so check out your school’s calendar online! If your school doesn’t have a lot of options, be sure to look for activities in your college town. From cleaning up parks to helping at local homeless shelters, you and your roomie will have a slew of community service projects to choose from!
2. Start watching a new TV show together
As you probably know by now, college girls take their television shows very seriously. That hour (or 30 minutes) of lust, scandal, drama, and laughs is the perfect way to unwind after a rough day. With an array of new shows to choose from—not to mention the great gift of Netflix—starting a new TV show-watching tradition is a fun way to get to know your roommate. Between Modern Family’s hysterical one-liners and the gorgeous guys on Pretty Little Liars, the two of you will have plenty to talk about! Even if you don’t have a television in your room, the two of you can watch the drama of House of Cards play out on your computer. If you and your roomie have a few shows in common, have a viewing party each week—just don’t forget to get popcorn!
3. Create a bucket list for the year
Maybe you haven’t written an actual bucket list, but we both know that you have a plethora of things you want to accomplish this year. Sharing your mental bucket list with your roomie is a great way to break the ice. The two of you can write down your top 10 goals for the school year and post them on your fridge or door. For optimal bonding, make sure to support each other! If she wants to get with that lax bro from your floor, it’s time to become the best wing-woman ever. Don’t worry; she’ll accompany you on your quest to find the best frozen yogurt in your college’s town!
4. Decorate your dorm room together
It’s time to get creative! Catherine Sourbis from Tufts University made sure that she and her roommate added some necessary eye candy to their room. “We made a little project out of cutting out our favorite boys from a spare Brooks Brothers magazine,” says Catherine. “Two years later, those guys still hang on the wall in the apartment we share.” In the event hot male models aren’t your thing, adorn your room with fun decorations for each holiday. Paper ships for Columbus Day, anyone?
5. Acknowledge your mutual love for food
Deny it all you want, but you love talking about food. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, midday snacks, dinner, dessert, midnight snacks – you love it all! So why not break the ice with food? Sure, randomly talking about your favorite dishes may be a little awkward, so suggest that the two of you go grocery shopping. “If you’re in a dorm, shop at the student market,” says Jessica Salerno from Ohio University. You’ll stock up your fridge and learn whether your roomie likes red pepper hummus or not. Sounds like a win-win situation to us! Bonding over food doesn’t stop there, collegiettes – you can always keep it simple and have an epic meal at your dining hall. “Some of my favorite memories of my roommate last year were when we went to our school’s midnight breakfast together before finals in the winter and in the spring,” says Sydney Nolan from Macalester College. “We had a great time talking and recharging for finals over huge plates of hash browns.” If your school doesn’t have midnight breakfasts, head to the dining hall and dare each other to try those sketchy corndogs. Let’s be honest; you’ve always wanted to eat a corndog.
6. Take an exercise class together
Okay, all this talk about food is making you want to work out. Crazy, huh? Instead of hitting the gym alone, ask your roommate if she wants to sign up for an exercise class with you. Some colleges even offer gym classes for credit and, since you won’t have to worry about a water aerobics midterm, you’ll be killing two birds with one athletic stone. Having a mandatory class each week will allow you and your roomie to hang outside of your dorm every week. After hours of modern dance class, how could you not connect over that challenging combination or how the only boy in your class is actually an amazing dancer? From yoga to self-defense, check out your gym’s schedule to pick out the class that’s best for the two of you!
You can ask as many icebreaker questions as you want; however, you won’t truly bond with your roommate until you leave the dorm and share a new experience. Whether you go to your school’s homecoming game together or voyage out to the nearest mall, the two of you will bond over the ah-dorable linebacker or that questionable lingerie store. Or embrace your college town’s history and take a trip to local landmarks! Unfortunately, one awesome expedition won’t make you best friends, so make sure you keep thinking of fun activities for the two of you to do together.
8. Pamper yourselves
Between the endless term papers and maintaining your rocking social life (woe is you), college can be very stressful. Sometimes, after a long day of classes, you just want someone to paint your nails and give you a nice back massage at the drying station – we don’t blame you! Going by yourself may give you that healthy dose of “me time,” but why not bring your roomie along? After all, most girls love talking about beauty products. If your first mani-pedi excursion is a success, make it a monthly tradition!
9. Burn CDs with your favorite songs
Unless you’re a music major or in a band, you may not sit around with your friends and talk about music that often—I just realized one of my closest friends and I love the same bands! It’s a shame because music is such an awesome way to bond. Instead of making awkward small talk about what musical genres you listen to, make each other playlists with your favorite songs. Whether you make a Spotify playlist or kick it old school and burn a CD, it’s always cool to hear new tunes. If the two of you love the same bands, make sure to take a road trip the next time one of your favorites is playing near your school. But what if you and your roomie don’t like the same music? Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not! The next time you hear a song that fits your roomie’s taste, send it her way. Trust us; she’ll love how considerate you are!
10. Play The Newlywed Game (roommate edition)
Remember when Monica and Rachel competed against Joey and Chandler in a not-so-friendly game of friendship trivia (don’t lie; you know you adore all these Friends references)? Give this idea a collegiette twist by going head-to-head with your neighbors to see who knows their roommate better. Not only will you receive a crash course in your roomie’s life, you can’t resist some healthy competition. To make this game interesting, set a wager! Free coffee for a week? You and your roommate can continue to bond over lattes once you win!
Though we can’t guarantee that you and your roomie will be a modern-day version of L.C. and Lo—because that was so long ago—we will tell you one thing: chances are your roommate wants to get to know you just as much as you want to get to know her. Even if the two of you don’t reach BFF status, you’ll feel a million times better once you’ve established a healthy roomie relationship.