Successful roommate relationships can be a challenge – and they can result in lifelong friendships. Follow these guidelines to live in harmony:
Establish Rules from the Start
Talk about what you like and don’t like from the start.
- Do you study with background noise or silence?
- How loud do you like to listen to your music?
- Do you go to bed early or late? What time? Do you wake easily? Do you like to sleep in on the weekends?
- How often do you have guests? Will they stay overnight? What if your roommate wants to host an overnight guest?
- Talk about privacy, and boundaries around personal property.
Make sure all rules are set from the beginning and are clear and understood by both of you. This will help you avoid disputes. Your RA has a roommate contract to help you think of things before they become an issue.
Communication Is Key
If something bothers you, sit down and talk with your roommate. Your roommate can’t read your mind, so you have to tell them what’s bothering you. Be respectful when talking about difficult things, and try not to criticize each other or place blame.
Using “I” statements is an excellent way to start. Things like, “When you come in late at night, it wakes me up and I am tired the next day.” Make sure you are listening as well as talking. Communication is best when it’s a two-way street. Communication also involves praise and compliments – be sure to give each other positive feedback!
Compromising is essential. Each of you has your individuality and preference, so you must learn to meet in the middle to create a comfortable living situation. Compromise is about coming to agreement about issues in a way you both can live comfortably with. Each person must give and take a little to get to a common place. Inevitably, you will need to compromise about chores that will get done around the room, when the lights go out at night, and how loud you listen to your music.
Remember, none of us is perfect, and most problems do have solutions. If it gets too difficult or you need help finding a workable compromise, your RA and RD are there to help you learn how to communicate effectively, help you find compromise and negotiate difficult topics.