Ten Crucial Tips For Getting Along With Your Roommate

PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION

College is a time when people spend a lot of time with their roommates. Below are some tips and advice on how to get along with a roommate.

1. Get to know each other.

Roommates do not need to be best friends, but there is a lot you can do to get to know each other better and develop a positive roommate relationship. Take the time to ask and answer questions -- about family, hobbies, academic interests, etc. Try some of the following questions or open-ended statements to help break the ice:

  • One of my favorite places to spend time is...
  • My favorite movie is...
  • The extracurricular things I'd like to become involved in are...
  • This semester I am looking forward to...
  • Three things that I am really good at are...
  • I like spending my free time by...
  • My nickname is…
  • My birthday is…
  • The kinds of food I like to eat are…
  • The things I do for fun are…
  • What I like to do for exercise is…
  • One reason I came to CU is….
  • My major is (or may be)…

2. Communicate.

Open & honest communication is key to building a positive and successful relationship. Find out what’s important to both of you. Talk about how you would like for the two of you to communicate with each other and how you talk to others when there is a problem or conflict. Living together can be stressful and knowing how the other person operates means that you can resolve conflicts before they grow too large. Healthy relationships take work. Some issues you may wish to discuss include:

  • The way I would like to decorate our room is…
  • If something I do upsets you, you would…
  • When I am unhappy or mad, I…

3. Be open and friendly.

Remember that both of you may be anxious and concerned about living with another person. Your roommate may be experiencing the same issues and concerns that you are and may be under the same pressures. Talk to each other about what is important to you and things that may affect your relationship as roommates.

4. Define "neat."

Whether you're a neat freak or a slob, you have someone else's feelings to consider. With a little give and take, you can each adjust accordingly and make your environment comfortable. You need to make sure that you both:

  • Agree to how you are going to keep the room.
  • What you are going to do if one of you is not living up to your agreement.

5. Discuss visitation hours.

Talk about when it's okay and when it's not okay to have visitors in the room. Also discuss how often you both plan to have people over.

  • Do you want your room to be a social center or a refuge from the crowds?
  • How about opposite gender guests?
  • When are they allowed in the room?
  • Do you think you might have overnight guests?
  • What are the rules for them?

6. Find an activity you can share.

There's nothing like having something in common to care and talk about. Do you both plan to go to the Rec Center? Maybe you can be workout partners. Perhaps you both enjoy a particular type of film, music, art, or hobby? While you will not be spending all your time with your roommate, it doesn't mean you can't do some things together.

7. What about study times and habits?

If you plan on doing most of your work in your room, talk about scheduling times so that you both can fully utilize the room and not conflict with each other's activities. Let your roommate know when you have a big test or assignment coming up so that he or she can give you space and quiet time.

8. Give each other space.

Togetherness is great, but too much of a good thing, sometimes that's not so great. You and your roommate both need time alone or with other friends. If that is not happening naturally, talk about it.

9. Are you okay with sharing?

Just because you are sharing a room, doesn't mean you may want to share other things even if you suddenly have twice the wardrobe. Talk about what you want to share and what you want of your own. Setting these boundaries early can avoid later conflicts.

10. Pet peeves & personal habits.

What is a big pet peeve for you? What is something that really bothers you? How do you deal with conflict? Do you yell, get quiet or nurse a grudge? You have the chance to talk in advance before you establish a relationship with this person – USE IT!

  • The way I feel about loaning things is…
  • The way I react when I am stressed out is…
  • When I'm depressed I…
  • Something that cheers me up when I am down is…
  • I become easily annoyed by….

Remember: If you have tried to communicate and sort through your problems and you still aren't happy with your living situation: Talk to your RA and/or Hall Director.