Choosing a Roommate: Friend or Randomly Assigned

Getting a roommate assignment (or choosing one if you are allowed) while you’re in college is one of the most exciting things! It’s a friend you get to live with, share meals with, and share everything together! For some, that doesn’t sound as exciting but when you’re living with the right roommates, it can be. But who is the right roommate? Is it your best friend from middle school that you’ve done everything with for the last 10 years? Or is it the random person your college is going to assign you?

There are plenty of pros and cons in choosing to live with a randomly assigned roommate versus your friend(s), so College Raptor is here to break it down for you. We want you to have the best college roommate situation so making an informed decision is the best way to do so! Keep in mind, everyone has different roommate experiences. 

Pros of Living with Randomly Assigned Roommates

1. There is no obligation to be best friends

When you live with a random roommate, you don’t HAVE to be friends with them. You can be cordial and enjoy your space without having to be best friends with them. We’re not saying to completely dismiss this random person, but if you both feel like you aren’t a great match as friends that’s okay.

It skips the awkwardness of bringing them along to every social function and vice versa, building a friendship off of nothing. Have mutual respect for each other, and you can still enjoy having a random roommate. Also, if you are having roommate-related issues over the year, you can get new roommates next year! 

2. You can have a good amount of independence

Choosing to live with a random roommate allows you to have more independence than you would with your friends. You can leave the apartment or room without always telling them where you’re going, what you’re doing, or asking if they want to come with you (especially if you didn’t want to invite them in the first place). Having a sense of independence when you leave for college is important which is why having a random roommate is a great idea. This is especially great for those who are starting with their first college roommates and are new to campus housing. 

3. You meet someone new

Maybe you don’t become best friends with your potential roommates. Or maybe you do! Either way, you have ventured out and met someone outside your normal social circle. They most likely have a different background from you, come from a different place, and have different interests. Hearing about someone else outside your normal circle is refreshing and sometimes life-changing.

Cons of Living with Randomly Assigned Roommates

1. Different lifestyles

Let’s say you grew up leaving your socks everywhere and someone picked it up for you and your roommate didn’t. When you live with a stranger, there’s a risk of having different lifestyles and we’re not talking just about cleanliness! They may love to go out while you like to stay in. You never skip class, but they always do. Not every different lifestyle will cause conflict but it is very possible.

2. They’re a stranger

After all, you don’t know this person. You have completely blind trust in them hoping they don’t sleep in your bed while you’re in class or go through your personal belongings. It can be scary to live with someone you don’t know, especially if it’s in a dorm room where you’re sharing one room.

3. You may be completely incompatible with them

It’s very possible that you and this random person are not compatible at all. You have different morals, and lifestyle preferences, and are very different in every way. Your incompatibility can be difficult to deal with throughout the school year and add more stress to your college life.

Pros of Living with Friends

1. There’s a foundation of trust

In existing friendships, there is already a foundation of trust to build on when you live together. Yes, maybe you haven’t lived together before but you at least know the person beforehand. You have more trust in them around your personal belongings and probably have established boundaries within your friendship.

2. No awkwardness

When you live with your friends, there are no awkward introductions or the first few weeks where you ask how you’re doing. Most of the time, you go straight into living your normal lives! And when you’re stressed during the first few weeks of college, it’s nice to be able to be yourself around someone, especially in your own living space.

3. You’re not lonely

Choosing to live with a stranger as a roommate can feel lonely because they don’t really know you. But when you live with a friend, you’re never lonely! It’s like when you come home from school and your dog is there waiting for you to greet you, it’s almost the same (except we know your roommate isn’t a dog). Just to have someone you know at home is comforting during this life transition.

Cons of Living with Friends

1. Confrontation is more difficult

You don’t want to ruin your friendship when you get mad at each other so it can be hard to deal with confrontation when you live with your friend. Will they get mad? Will they give you the silent treatment? It’s nerve-wracking to think about what will happen to the friendship if you address pressing issues you have about your living situation.

2. Obligation to do everything together

When you live with your friend, there is usually an obligation to do a lot of things together. But as the school year goes on and you both make other friends, inviting them to everything can feel like a chore. You don’t want to hurt their feelings but you also know they wouldn’t have the best time with your other friends. It’s a tricky situation to deal with.

3. Can be straining on the existing relationship

As we said before, living with someone in close quarters is already difficult. If you’ve never lived with your friends before, you should know that it’s common for this to be stretching for the friendship and may even cause some strife. You don’t want to be passive-aggressive but you also don’t want to completely confront your issues. It’s a double-edged sword that’s difficult to deal with in existing relationships.

Overall, choosing to live with a random roommate or a friend can be a lot of fun. There are strong pros and cons for both so it’s important to go over them with your personal experience to see which decision is best for you and your college experience!

If you haven’t found the college that’s right for you, use College Raptor’s college search tool for personalized matches! Then use our scholarship match tool to find FREE money to use throughout your college years.