Roommate relationships are the foundations for community development. It is not necessary to be best friends or share every aspect of college life together; but, it is important that roommates respect each others' rights. Developing a positive relationship is a process; it does not happen over night and takes effort. Although, this page is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to roommate relationships, there are some proactive steps you can take to help build that successful relationship!!!
Step by Step approach to building a successful relationship:
1. Get to know your roommate!
Ask questions that will help you learn about each other and build on your similarities. Some specific topics can be discussed that will open the door to a greater understanding of each other:
- Where are you from?
- What is your major?
- What are your favorite things to do?
- What is your family like?
2. Talk about expectations of each other.
Now that you know a little about your roommate as a person, it is time to talk about expectations and set some guidelines for living in the same room/apartment. Be open with your needs, but also be willing to compromise. Discuss the issues that roommates typically disagree about. Once you have talked about these issues you can get an Apartment Living or Roommate Agreement Form from your RA or Head of Hall to record the agreements you reach.
What time do you typically study?
Can you study with the TV or radio on?
With visitors in the room?
What time do you typically go to bed or get up in the morning?
Are you a heavy or light sleeper?
Can you sleep with the TV or radio on?
With visitors in the room?
How neat and clean are you used to keeping your room?
How will housekeeping duties he shared?
How would you like the room arranged and decorated?
What items are you comfortable sharing and what would you prefer not to be borrowed or used?
Will you share food and drink costs?
Do you mind if guests use items in the room?
Do you prefer to be asked before someone borrows something?
3. Talk about conflict.
If the agreements you and your roommate reach now break down later, speak up! There are ways to complain without alienating your roommate(s). Here are some basic rules for talking about the conflicts.
- Speak to your roommate directly; stating issues neutrally while relaying feelings.
- Be calm and cool. When you lose your temper, you can lose the opportunity to resolve your differences.
- Use statements that begin with “I”: “I get really angry when you don't wash the dishes.” Instead of “You never clean up after yourself” This way your roommate(s) can see the direct connection between his/her actions and your reactions. (Be careful. Don't let this deteriorate into “I'm sick and tired...)
- Be careful not to make accusations such as “You could't care less about how I feel!” This will only make your roommate defensive. Talk about specific behaviors, not about your character.
- Put yourself in your roommate's shoes. Treat your roommates as you hope to be treated. Before you make any demands, think about how you would react to such demands.
- Offer solutions and compromise, including revising your Roommate Living Agreement.
4. Seeking Assistance.
If you feel that you have tried everything and you still don't get along, then you need to go to someone for help.
Ask your R.A. for help.
Ask your R.A. about Roommate mediation.
- Contact the Counseling Center at (610) 660-1090 and talk to a professional counselor.
- Contact your Area Coordinator (A.C.) at the Residence Life Office at (610) 660-1062.