Connecting with Roommates
Our goal is to provide the best possible support services to help you achieve the roommate relationship you want. You and your roommate may not always agree, but it’s still possible to have a respectful living environment that allows you each to thrive.
Creating a positive living experience for you and your roommates takes forethought, trust, and good communication. Below are tips to establish a strong roommate relationship and how to stay ahead of (or work through) any concerns.
Communication is Key
How will those things differ from preferences you can compromise on? For instance, a need might be setting a common expectation for when lights and noise will be minimized in your room in order to support a full night’s rest. A preference might be where you’ll keep shared cleaning supplies and whether you will share food items stored in the room.
Think about what ideal will communication will look like before you move in. Will you use text messaging? Snapchat? Email? Another application?
We recommend trying a video conference before moving in, if possible, to get used to one another’s communication styles.
It can be hard to be direct and assertive with someone you just met, but honesty and transparency are often appreciated when negotiating common expectations. If you are nervous about stating what you need, practice with a close friend or family member before reaching out to your roommates.
Even if you don’t share the same concerns, they are real for your roommate, and you owe them the respect of listening with compassion. Be empathetic, and work towards understanding.
Offensive, disrespectful language is not accepted in our communities and should not be a part of how you communicate with your roommate. If you’re upset, ask to pause the conversation and continue once you have had time to process.
It is important to communicate about hosting guests in your space. Setting up an agreement about guests should be an explicit part of your pre-move in communications with your roommate or one of the first conversations when you arrive.
- How often will guests be welcome in your room/apartment?
- Where do you each stand regarding overnight guests?
- Are there particular hours of the day/night during which you’d prefer no guests are present?
- How will you communicate with one another about your intent to host guests in the space?
Conflict is a normal and natural part of any living arrangement. You may go over a few speed bumps along the way, but roommate relationships are an investment that can lead to positive, lifelong friendships. If you already know your roommate and consider yourself to be good friends, remember that even good friends encounter bumps along the road.
Expect and prepare for conflict to arise around any number of topics. Typical roommate conflicts develop around:
- Property or belongings when expectations about personal belongings were not clearly communicated, or when agreed upon expectations are not respected.
- Behaviors when specific actions negatively impact someone’s ability to sleep, study, and/or socialize in their space (e.g. loud noises while one roommate is trying to sleep or study, frequency of guests, behaviors involving alcohol, cannabis, or other controlled substances).
- Values when maintaining a relationship with someone who is driven by a set of values different from our own. Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that help us to determine what is important to us (Ethicssage.com, 2018) and form the basis for our thoughts, opinions, priorities, and actions
Think about how you want to respond to conflict—what are your "deal breakers" and where are you willing to compromise? Talk about this with your roommate before arriving on campus and don't be afraid to revisit concerns from time to time.
We're Here to Help
Your Community Advisor will reach out during the first month of the semester to offer assistance with completing your Roommate Agreement.
You may also request facilitated mediation with your CA or Residence Director. CAs may be helpful if you want the facilitator to have knowledge and experience with what it’s like to live on your floor, while your RD brings professional experience in mediating roommate conversations.
It can be tempting to seek a new room assignment when faced with roommate conflict. This is an understandable response to the prospect of needing to have a difficult conversation in order to resolve issues. However, it’s important you try to work on any issues contributing to conflict before requesting a room change.
You may have to go over a few speed bumps in order to reach a living situation that works for both of you. Roommate relationships are an investment, and they take time. A new room/roommate does not gauarntee you a better relationship than the one you’ve already invested in.
We generally expect to be near full occupancy in our communities with very few open spaces available to support room changes. There may be no vacancies and you will likely not be able to stay in your current building. Visit the page below for details about requesting a change.