Care and Feeding of Your Roommate...

Learning to live in close quarters with a person you do not know very well can be trying. The challenge for you and your roommate is to create an atmosphere in your room that promotes studying, relaxation, sleeping, privacy, and respect for each other's personal needs and property.

If you can meet these challenges you will be on the way to developing a deep friendship. All of the above are more likely to happen if the two of you communicate openly and listen willingly. Start by becoming acquainted with each other's backgrounds, attitudes, habits, and moods so you will know what to expect of each other.

The questions on this page will help facilitate sharing. Keep in mind that your roommate is not going to be a carbon copy of you. There will be differences.

Questions to Ask Each Other...

  • Begin by getting to know your roommate as a person: Hometown? Career goals? Talents? Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes?
  • Will smoking and/or alcohol be allowed in the room? (Hint: smoke outside only, or even better, quit. That stuff causes cancer, seriously.)
  • What about guests dropping by? How often? How late? Weekend visitors?
  • What time do you go to sleep? What time do you get up? Are you a heavy or light sleeper? Do you snore? (Helpful tip: foam earplugs are inexpensive)
  • How much do you study? When do you study? How quiet does the room have to be for you to be able to study?
  • What kind of music do you prefer? How loud? Could you use headphones?
  • What temperature do you like the room? Are you an "arctic blast" or a "I like to live in lava" person?
  • How neat and clean do you want the room? How do we decide who cleans what and when?
  • Which items of your property are OK to borrow? Which are off-limits?
  • How will we set up the room? What about food in the room? Do we share?

Surviving With Your Roommate...

  • Discuss "Questions to Ask Each Other" as soon as possible.
  • Never assume your roommate is just like you. You are both unique individuals.
  • Always ask permission. Don't just use the iron or eat the cookies, even if you think it might be OK. We know it's a tough call when it comes to Golden Oreos or Girl Scout Tagalongs, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made. Ask nicely. Consider a trade. 
  • Listen to your roommate. Try to understand how your roommate feels. Try to see the situation from their perspective.
  • Realize there is no perfect roommate. Concentrate on making this roommate relationship work.
  • Appreciate your roommate. Praise, respect, and courtesy are the foundations for any positive relationship. Never take your roommate for granted.
  • Do not let little things build up.
  • Talk about minor things when they happen rather than waiting for "the last straw!"
  • Avoid being judgmental. You are not your roommate's keeper.
  • Be ready to compromise. Set the tone for solving a problem instead of complaining.
  • Be assertive and stand up for yourself. Discuss issues directly with your roommate rather than voicing them to others on the floor.
  • Ask your RA, RD, or RLC for advice. They are trained to help mediate conflicts.