Living with a roommate, and college in general, is a big adjustment for everyone. We believe that living with someone else will provide you with an opportunity to learn from someone different than yourself. We’d like to share a few tips on how to establish respect and communication to foster a successful roommate relationship.
Your Resident Assistant will help you and your roommate to complete a roommate agreement during the first few weeks of school. The agreement will help you to define shared expectations for your living space, how you will communicate with another, and how to address conflict if it occurs. Read on for more tips to get you ready for conversations with your roommate.
Get to Know Each Other
Get to know your roommate by attending on-campus events, going to see a movie or eating meals together. By setting aside time to spend with one another, you will begin to understand each other better. Understanding each other is the first step in building a healthy roommate relationship.
Be Open Minded
You and your roommate may be very different. People communicate differently, so make a genuine effort to open up to your roommate. Keep a positive attitude and an open mind—you will discover there is much to be learned from someone whose background, culture, values and interests are different from your own.
In order to avoid frustration, discuss individual expectations with your roommate. It is normal for roommates to have different expectations. Coming to a common agreement on what is expected for your living space is an important part of living with another person. Remember, it is as important to listen as it is to speak when having conversations about your shared expectations. Some topics to address are study habits, sleep schedules, items for sharing, items for personal use, visitation hours and cleanliness.
Talk It Out
Most problems can be resolved with communication. Do not let problems build up. Talk openly and honestly about concerns with your roommate. Set aside a specific time to speak with your roommate so that you can both be focused on listening to one another and resolving the problem. If you need assistance, a Resident Assistant can help to facilitate a conversation between you and your roommate.
Give Each Other Space
Sharing a room is a big adjustment for many people. Even if you are best friends, always being together may be too much of a good thing. You will both need alone time. Roommates often have different class schedules. However, if you don’t have a natural “break” from each other, talk about creating one.
Ask Before You Borrow
Everyone has a comfort level for sharing items with roommates. Always ask before you borrow something—it will help avoid roommate frustration. Also, remember that just because your roommate has let you use something in the past, he or she may not want you using it all the time.
Schedule Study Times
Let one another know in advance when important events (papers, projects, tests) are coming up. Please be respectful of your living space as a place to sleep and study.
Not all roommates become best friends, but most naturally learn how to get along with each other. The key to a roommate relationship is establishing shared expectations, communicating with one another, and addressing conflict when it occurs. If you feel like you are unable to handle a situation with your roommate, Residential Life staff are available to assist you. Please speak to your RA about your concerns so that we can determine the best way to help you.