Being a socially awkward introvert and an only child (I guess you're suggesting you don 't share space or things well), could make for challenging dynamics in a roomie situation. But it need not define your experience. Here's the awesome thing - it's great you know yourself and your limits. It probably makes sense for you not to stray too far from your comfort zone, at least initially. Stick to your socially awkward guns. Don't share your stuff. And don't feel you need to become unduly outgoing in this situation.
Most college students assume they have to become friends with their freshman year roommate.They do not. It can happen, but even for outgoing types that's typically a pretty high bar. Living with someone can be stressful, especially in the close quarters that make up school dorms. What makes a roomie situation work is a complicated brew: one part compatibility, one part respect for each other, one part leaving the cap ON the toothpaste - or sticking to your own tube - and finally, not having sex in your room while your roomate is there, (and other stuff like that). Of course, there's dealing with someone coming home at all hours of the night making it impossible to study or sleep, snoring, eating whiffy, maloderous foods, avoiding germs (this is also if you identify as germaphobic), the point is - the list goes on and on. There is a reason why they invented "singles" in dorms. Some freshman houses offer them. Consider investigating whether this is an option at your school. If doesn't make you anti-social, just practical. You will make friends elsewhere in your classes, school clubs, etc
Your goal as a roomate is to peaceably co-exist. All a roomate needs to be is the person you can live with, not your BFF. With that in mind, you are socially off the hook. Think about this relationship more in terms of mutual respect, boundaries and negotiations. Hopefully this moves the situation away from one where you have to worry about friendship and sharing belongings, and more of one about mutual consideration.
Here are some guidelines for establishing and maintaining a positive roomie relationship:
- Be thoughtful and considerate.
- Be respectful.
- Establish roommate rules early on. It's easier in the beginning to have a plan than to deal with problematic behavior as it comes up. But when something problematic does come up - deal with it head on. Don't wait until it becomes a pattern or brood about the issue silently. Try open, honest communication.
- If you can meet your roomate before school starts via facebook or email, start a dialogue. Consider dividing up what you might want to purchase for the room. You buy the fridge. He gets the microwave. This is the beginning of a working relationship.
- Try to be the first one to arrive in the dorm room. Consider arranging the bed and your desk in a way that gives you some privacy without totally building a barricade.
Above all else, keep an open mind. Living with someone does force you to be social. You may find yourself experiencing a level of camaraderie you haven't felt as an only child. Additionally, your life will be so full at school with other academic and social activities, you may find you hardly spend all that much time in your room. Or said another way - you have the option of spending very little time in that shared space.
I'm hopeful you may become friends with your roomate. But if not, at least the above may help you avoid an unpleasant experience.