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Living with a Roommate

Sharing Space

The college roommate experience can be one of the most gratifying yet sometimes trying times in a student’s college career. Students will encounter values and concepts that they never knew existed. For many, this will be the first time a student has had to share their space. This sharing will require that students learn how their behaviors and actions, both positively and negatively, affect others. We encourage each student to open his or her mind to themselves and others. As with all things of worth, it will take effort, initiative, and understanding.

Learning how to establish a relationship with another is essential knowledge for any career or activity. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Students should talk about ideas and feelings as well as just "things"
  • Students should make sure they have the facts straight
  • Students are encouraged to be honest about their feelings, likes, and dislikes
  • Students should be willing to compromise, but know which issues they will not compromise on and which ones are open for negotiation
  • Students should give their roommate the respect, consideration, and understanding they expect in return
  • Students should expect some defensiveness, possibly even after the confrontation
  • Students should give their roommate an opportunity to think about what has been said
  • Students should set the "tone" for talking and set aside the appropriate amount of time for a complete conversation (five minutes before class is not the time for a heart-to-heart)
  • Students should discuss their roommate problems with their roommate or hall staff only and not with others
  • Try and separate yourself from any anger. You will get better results by remaining calm and rational and anger may just fuel the situation
  • Have a solution in mind
  • Students should not assume a "victim" mentality - it is within their control to address the situation and take action. Inaction is an option but then students must accept the consequences of choosing no action
  • Students should commit themselves to listening. Everyone wants to be heard and only by listening to their roommate's point of view can they understand and better resolve any conflict
  • Values, feelings, and ideas change, and that's OK. A student should not feel betrayed if their roommate seems different after a while
  • If problems between roommates persist, students are encouraged to seek assistance from a Residence Life staff member


Please feel free to contact your Residence Life staff member to address roommate conflicts.