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September 11, 2013 7:19 AM   Subscribe

What can I do to bond with my roomates?

Hey everyone,

I am in a flat with some people who I know well but am not quite friends this year. What can I do to bond with them a bit more? They seem like nice, cool people but after a year of co-existing on the same campus but not really getting to know each other I feel very nervous and would like tips and instructions, if possible, to help me feel like I am at least putting myself out there (without the TOTAL uncertainty which would make me go full-awkward and freak out).

I'm also worried that they think I'm weird. I'm a little weird, my friends say it's endearing but what if they are very anti-weird? I get very self-conscious and quiet as I overthink EVERYTHING when I feel like my weirdness is being noticed and poorly received.

There are four people in the house and two of them are doing the same degree so are closer than the rest of us.

I just think that this situation is at worst 'ok', so it's not really going to be a probelm. But cannot help but hope that we will be super bonded and tight and have fun hanging out next year! That would be really amazing, and I know it's not really my responsibility or within my control, but I would like to know what NOT to do, and how to move in that direction. Because right now I feel very lost and anxious even contemplating the 'future'.

Sorry for all this nervous ranting!! I feel very nervous! Class is starting next week... HELP!!!!

Mefites who have had awesome bonding experiences with their roommates, how did that happen?
posted by dinosaurprincess to Human Relations (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Eating together is always fun! Perhaps you could cook them some food?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 AM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Board game night!
posted by inturnaround at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Came in to suggest cooking a big house dinner. Also: alcohol.
posted by Diskeater at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

but what if they are very anti-weird?

Then you should not try to be friends with them because clearly they are awful people.

Start having a movie night. Easy food (pizza, takeout thai, etc), booze if you drink it, stupidfun movie.
posted by phunniemee at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

If you're self-conscious and don't want to jump in feet-first to Bonding Experiences, start by just asking how their day was. It's a simple and friendly thing to do that can both break the ice and help you get to know each other better.

From there, definitely food and fun movie or game nights.
posted by marshmallow peep at 7:29 AM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: yeah, don't push it. Say, "hey, do you guys want to eat together on Wednesday? I can make pasta." and then, if they say they want to do it, they'll offer to bring stuff. If they ask, say bread, salad or dessert. If only one can do it, that's totally fine. Over the year, you'll end up having more meals and time together and become better friends. Don't try to make it happen overnight.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:40 AM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Don't force it. You become friends and bonded by doing things together, so aim for that in a casual way.

Eating together, watching a goofy movie with the object of making fun of it, getting a cat to play with. All are good efforts.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:42 AM on September 11, 2013

Eh I don't know, trying to organize bonding activities like game nights or dinner night might be coming on a bit strong but that's just me so maybe I'm a jerk.

I've always bonded with roommates by simply utilizing the common areas as much as possible. This does not mean "monopolize the common areas" because that's really bad, just make sure you're not that person who holes up in their room every waking moment they're at home. I've had a few roommates that would literally come home with takeout food and make a bee line past the kitchen for their bedroom where they'd eat and we'd never see them again unless they were coming or going - clearly they had no interest in socializing with anyone.

Being comfortable using the common spaces maximizes your chances of bumping into them, so use the kitchen to cook (offer them food, don't make a mess) and hang out in the living room sometimes (watch tv sometimes, offer them a beer, don't be that dude who is ALWAYS out on the couch though). If one of them is watching a movie, TV show or sporting event in the living room, I say feel free to sit down and join them for a bit - it's your living room too. Just know your boundaries - if they're with an SO or their own friends be sure not to impose or overstay your welcome.

Casual things like this have lead to me becoming friendlier with roommates, just make sure you understand the balance/boundaries.
posted by windbox at 7:53 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I found it easiest when I was Friendly with my roommates, but not best friends that share every secret.

If you don't want to organize a dinner off the bat, I found that just cooking up a big batch of something Delicious and offering to share led to more house bonding (in my case it was a cold noodle salad with peanut sauce and cucumbers - so easy, cheap, and everyone loved it).
posted by ldthomps at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

1 - use the common areas frequently but clean up after yourself
2 - maintain an acceptable level of personal hygiene.... noboby wants to hang out with Stinky McStinkerson
3 - Play Settlers of Catan/ Cranium/ Monopoly / cards
4 - Have a house movie night
5 - Suggest house nights out together at bars /clubs
6 - Call them when you're on campus "hey - I'm at the student union bar, fancy a drink?" Keep on doing this REGULARLY and you'll be golden.

You'll have to put yourself out there a little bit initially, but seriously - you are living in a flat together, you'll become bonded just as long as you make an effort!!!

(And seriously, I'm not joking about the personal hygiene thing - I used to live with someone who had issues in that area and believe me, it was baaaaad!!!!!)
posted by JenThePro at 8:13 AM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

They don't think you're weird. They're not thinking about you at all.

Your best option here is to just be a good roommate. Do your share of chores without complaint, notice when things need to be cleaned or restocked, be cheerful but not overwhelmingly perky with the others.

People are busy and often their home is where they come to unwind, not to be faced with more social obligations. That's just how it is – it's not about you.
posted by zadcat at 8:27 AM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a little weird

The following is a partial list of all the things that literally everybody on earth thinks about themselves and believes nobody else feels the same way about themselves even though everyone actually secretly does:

1) I'm a little weird
2) Meeting new people or making new friends is scary and hard
3) I get very self-conscious in unfamiliar social situations
4) I never know what to say when the conversation pauses and there's that awkward silence

In other words: be yourself, be happy about being yourself, and the rest will follow.
posted by ook at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2013 [10 favorites]

You bond by sharing experiences. If you want to bond with your flatmates, you need to find or create memorable experiences you can share with these people. Find out what kind of music they like and what kind of things they do in their spare time, then apply the little grey cells to the matter. When you see opportunities you think you and they would like, ask them if they would like to go with you to do whatever it is. Free or cheap concerts? Parties? Hikes? Excursions? Shopping? Interesting people you could introduce them to?

But -- to offer you another way of looking at this -- you might like to keep some distance between yourself and other flatmates. Make friends outside of the flat, people you choose to be with, people who choose to be with you, and not just people who happen to share your very temporary living circumstances. When you want to come home from class or fun and crash in your room, it might be nice to not have a load of hi-we-just-happen-to-live-in-the-same-flat-so-let's-party people barging in and sitting on your bed and pushing you to do stuff with them or be a jerk. Your room will be your sanctuary.
posted by pracowity at 12:32 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

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