Dear Ellie: Introverted vs Extroverted Roomates

Alena Purpero, Lifestyle Editor

“Dear Ellie,

“My roommate is really quiet and I find it hard to start conversations with her. It’s beginning to get awkward. How can I change this?”

Sara B.

Dear Sara B.,-

That’s a tough one. Having a quiet roommate while you are bubbly and talkative can be hard. At times, you may feel stupid or annoying. Whether you want to start a conversation and don’t know how, or your roommate is a bit too talkative and you don’t know how to keep up, it’s never going to be a piece of cake.

There are several degrees of introverted and extroverted personalities. It all depends on where you get your energy and how well you recharge for the next day or week of school. Some people get their energy from large groups of people, while others get their energy from a select few trusted individuals. Then there are other people who get their energy from being on their own. One degree is not any better than the other. There is no shame in needing some time alone.

The first few weeks of school will be the best time to get to know your roommate. Find out what makes him or her tick and how you can try not to push their buttons. Establishing alone time is important and is a conversation that should happen early in the year. If you find yourself having a hard time talking to your roommate in general, it can be hard to talk about the more serious needs of living together.

I suggest starting with the simple things; Smile and say hello. Wish them luck when they leave for class, or even offer them food that you’d be willing to share. Eventually, through some endurance and trust, they will start to open to you.

Some people are just naturally introverted and need peace and quiet. It’s okay to be that way. On the other hand, certain people are just naturally extroverted and feel like silence needs to be filled, and it’s okay to be that way too.

The beauty of being in college, especially at UW-Whitewater, is that people are so diverse. The key to developing relationships with different people is kindness and trust. People like knowing that you are someone to come and talk to, even if all you talk about is your favorite color and how many siblings you have.

Developing good people skills is necessary for situations you will encounter later in life.  Unfortunately, there are people you will meet who will simply not get along with your personality type. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t try.

Leave an offer to talk on the table, and include your roommate in plans, whether it is something as simple as going to dinner or studying together. Everyone likes to be included. If she becomes ready to socialize, you will be more than happy to oblige.