Living with a Roommate
The key to getting to know your roommate is communication. You cannot discover who he/she is unless you talk to each other. While we hope all roommates have a positive experience together, it is not guaranteed that you will become best friends, nor is that necessarily expected. When roommates don't get along, it can make for a challenging year. How do you work through problems with your roommate? Here are some tips:
- Communication is the key. Talk to each other and tell your roommate when you are upset about something he/she did.
- Be tactful when sharing your feelings with your roommate.
- Be a good listener. Try to see each other's viewpoint.
- Remain pleasant and control your emotions.
- Discuss little problems as they arise to prevent them from escalating into bigger conflicts.
- Be assertive in asking for what you want or need.
- If you need a mediator, contact your RA.
After you begin to get to know each other, you may be able to prevent problems by making an agreement about what will and will not occur in your room. Many people have great success with informal conversations, while others like to write an actual contract. If you and your roommate think that negotiating a formal contract is a good idea, you will want to consider the following issues:
- Study time in the room/apartment.
- Visitation and guest policy.
- Bathroom use schedule for suite living.
- Cleaning the room, suite, bathroom and/or apartment.
- How you will handle any problems or conflicts.
- Sharing of food and cost of groceries.
- Use of one another's property, including use of stereo, TV, computer, etc.
- Space for clothes, luggage and storage.
- Use of phone and relaying messages.
The staff members of the Office of Residential Programs are trained mediators who can help roommates and/or suitemates in conflict express their concerns and find acceptable compromises. Residents can contact any staff member within their complex for advice on how to approach and discuss concerns in a way that will help foster a good relationship and strengthen communication skills.
Staff members are also able to formally facilitate a suite and/or room mediation that includes a formal contract outlined by the members of the suite and/or room during the conversation. Failure to negotiate or abide by the agreed upon roommate contract may result in a fine and/or judicial action.