Housing & Dining

Roommate Relationship

Guidelines for Successful Communication

The first step toward building a strong roommate/suitemate relationship is communicating. It is important to approach communication with your new roommate with a few guidelines in mind:  

  • Be open minded and willing to consider the other person’s perspective.
  • Be willing to compromise; consider what you can live with rather than insisting on what you want.
  • Don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking, and ask for clarification if you don’t understand.
  • Address issues with your roommate/suitemate directly and in a timely manner; there is no need for the whole floor to know the issue.
  • Have a positive attitude; expect that your conversation will have a successful result.

Important Considerations for New Roommates

It is important to address specific issues with your roommate before they become much bigger issues (e.g., sleeping and studying schedules, guest, cleanliness). Some things to consider discussing with your roommate during your first few days together are: 

  • Are you a morning or night person?
  • What time do you like to go to bed and wake up?
  • Are you a light or heavy sleeper?
  • When do you like to study?
  • What kind and how much noise are you able to study with?
  • How much notice would you like when guests are coming over?
  • Are overnight guests okay? What if they are of the opposite sex?
  • How long is too long for a guest to stay?
  • Is it okay for a guest to be in the room if no one else is there?
  • How clean do you like the room to be?
  • Is it okay if your roommate's half of the room is not as clean as yours?
  • How will you take care of cleaning, taking out the trash, and doing the dishes?
  • What are you willing to share (food, clothes, movies, books, etc.)?
  • If you are going to share food, how will you distribute the cost?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • Are there things about you that a roommate should know?

The more you and your roommate discuss upfront, the less conflict you will have along the way. However, it is important to remember that things may change over the course of the semester (The 10:00 pm bedtime that you agreed on in September may not still be realistic in October). These are issues to keep discussing throughout the course of the year.