When living with an introvert roommate, keep these simple tips in mind to make your co living relationship comfortable for everyone concerned!
One of the most rewarding aspects of living with roommates is having the opportunity to live with a diverse group of people. And while that requires some level of compromise and patience, it will ultimately benefit your self-growth. So if you find yourself living with an introvert roommate (and you’re quite the opposite), don’t worry! You can still have a great roommate relationship. We talked to a few experts on how you can get off on the right foot when living with an introvert roommate.
1. Understand introversion
People often hear “introvert” and think of a loner or homebody. But it actually describes someone who is receptive to energy, says Nancy Tavares-Jones, registered psychotherapist and identity expert at Life Pathways Psychotherapy in Toronto.
What’s more is introversion isn’t black and white, and there’s no such thing as being a pure introvert.
2. Don’t think your introvert roommate is ‘anti-social’ or ‘shy’
Just because your introvert roommate doesn’t exude energy does not mean they don’t enjoy company. Rather, introverts prefer having deep, meaningful relationships with only a few people. So if your roommate goes straight to their room at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily indicative of how they feel about you.
Dr. Laurel Clark, resident emeritus of the School of Metaphysics describes herself as an introvert. And she agrees that introverts do like social interaction. But their preference for intimate relationships can be misconstrued as being stand-offish.
In an age when people are often encouraged to go out, socialize and make new friends, it can be difficult for your introvert roommate to be themselves, Tavares-Jones says. Being with other people is simply taxing for them, she stresses.
3. Respect the difference between you and your introvert roommate
Whether your roommate tells you they’re an introvert, or you make an educated assumption based on their everyday behavior, the first step to maintaining a healthy relationship is simply accepting the differences in your personalities.
Introversion isn’t a good or bad thing; it’s just a set of preferences that need to be respected. This respect, Tavares-Jones stresses, is one of the key things to a happy home.
Part of respect is keeping in mind how your behavior affects your roommate. Having lived with both extroverts and introverts, Clark says she’s noticed that extroverts sometimes don’t realize how loud they are.
When you’re living with an introvert roommate, Clark suggests getting to know their habits and when their preferred quiet times are. Excessive noise or late-night parties at home could be upsetting. You may have a large social network, but inviting over people your roommate doesn’t know without getting a clear OK could very easily seem disrespectful.
Just like with any healthy relationship, communication is key when living with an introvert roommate. Make sure you take the time to hear your roommate’s concerns. Introverts may not speak much, but they still have something to say. Even if they’re not the best at expressing it.
Clark says that it took her time to practice communicating her needs to her roommates. But doing so created greater awareness of each other’s needs and encouraged sensitivity.
Tavares-Jones also suggests asking the introvert roommate to offer their own input on how to create a healthy, happy environment. And remember, patience is key!