The University Network

8 Tips for a Successful Roommate Relationship

Most college freshmen start this new chapter of their life with a burning question in mind: what if my roommate and I don’t get along? It’s natural to wonder, but there are things you can do to ensure a good roommate relationship. Obviously, it’s nerve-racking to think about sharing such close quarters with a complete stranger, but it’s important to go into college with an open mind. You and your roommate might end up becoming lifelong friends!

Check out the following tips to see how you can make your relationship with your roommate as enjoyable as possible.

1. Clear Communication from the Start

Clear communication is the key to avoid conflicts, so have an honest conversation with your roommate before you move in, which will help both of you sort out each other’s expectations. Living in an on-campus dorm means that you’ll be sharing a small space for a long time, and you’ll need to respect each other’s needs and expectations. Don’t wait for your roommate to figure out your likes and dislikes. Having a conversation from the get-go about your preferences will save you both many arguments. Be considerate of your roommate(s), and you will likely get consideration in return.  

2. Solve Problems Immediately

Solve problems while they’re still small; don’t wait to see if it’ll just go away. It’s important to address the situation immediately since you will likely be seeing your roommate every day, and you don’t want the tension to build up. Is your roommate doing something that’s bothering you? If so, tell her. Instead of being passive-aggressive and waiting for your roommate to figure out what she’s doing wrong, just let her know! After all, your roommate may not even be aware that there is a problem. Also, it’s a whole lot easier to solve a problem when it’s small than to wait until all your frustration builds up.

3. Be Respectful of Your Roommate’s Stuff

It’s very important to remember that your roommate’s stuff is NOT yours. Just because you are sharing a living space, doesn’t mean you can use your roommate’s belongings whenever you please. This is probably the most common problem that arises between college roommates. Always ask for permission before borrowing, or using, any of your roommate’s stuff!

4. Avoid Constantly Inviting People Over

You might love being surrounded by people, but that might not be the case for your roommate. Your roommate may need some quiet time and find it annoying if you keep bringing a group of friends into your room. Bringing friends over once or twice is understandable, but it’s important to remember that your room is also another person’s room and you need to be considerate. You should talk to your roommate about this and make sure you don’t step on any boundaries when bringing friends over.

5. Lock Your Door

Locking your door and windows is important for safety: yours and your roommate’s as well as the property that belong to you both. When you leave your door unlocked, you’re not only risking your valuables, but also your roommate’s. Imagine that your roommate steps out for a moment and forgets to lock the door, and you come home to find your laptop missing. How do you think you would feel about your roommate afterwards? Be mindful of safety concerns and lock the door and windows.

6. Give Your Roommate Some Space

Be friendly with your roommate, but respect each other’s space. Trying to force a close relationship will only cause strain for you both. You and your roommate will be spending a lot of time together just in your room, so it’s important to give each other a break. One key element to having a healthy roommate relationship is for both of you to have your own life and social circles.

7. Have an Open Mind

It’s possible that your roommate may have a completely different background. She may be from another culture with a lifestyle and perspective that’s very different from yours. Be open to this new outlook and respect the differences. If you do this, you’ll find it rewarding to experience the diversity that your roommate brings. Also, college is a time for growth and it is likely that you and your roommate will change a lot during your time together. Be aware of these changes and accept them, rather than holding on to the past.

8. Treat Your Roommate with Respect

Sharing a room with another person can certainly be challenging, and you may sometimes have trouble finding a way to solve a problem between you. When this happens, always follow the Golden Rule and treat your roommate the way you you want to be treated. If you treat your roommate with respect all the time, you’ll have no regrets.

RELATED: Quick Solutions to Roommate Conflicts