You probably started to think about what it would be like to have a roommate well before you had a housing assignment. For many of you, this will be the first time that you will share a room with another person, a person you may not know. This can be both exciting and intimidating, but you can have a great experience with a few proactive steps. Below are four tips to make living with a roommate work.
The Roommate Agreement Form
Whether you are old friends or new to each other, completing a Roommate Agreement is the first step in starting a successful roommate relationship. It’s a way to set up expectations from each other before issues arise. The Roommate Agreement will help guide you through simple disagreements. Be specific with the form and talk to each other through the process of completing it. It might seem a little awkward at first, but it’s really a great foundation for the year and a great way to get to know each other.
Talk to Each Other
When a disagreement does arise, it’s best to talk to your roommate directly before talking to anyone else. Venting your frustrations to other residents on your floor or on social media can complicate matters. Sit down and express your feelings. Use “I” statements and try to avoid making accusations. Let your roommate explain his or her perspective too. Remember, you want to fix the concern in your room, and talking things out can often nip problems in the bud.
Don’t Let Things Linger
Consistent communication is helpful, so you and your roommate can work out problems together. If you don’t share what’s frustrating you, your roommate may not even know that a problem exists! If you address issues in a timely fashion, you won’t let them snowball into something bigger.
Talk to Housing and Residence Life Staff
If you have tried to communicate directly with your roommate and that isn’t working, or if you need someone to help mediate an issue, talk to the RA on your floor or the CRL in your building. He or she will be able to help you and your roommate resolve conflicts.
Working out issues with your roommate is great practice for working out issues later in your life.