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Living with Others

roommates.jpgYou and Your Roommate

Living in a residence hall community, and more specifically with a roommate, will provide you with opportunities to develop interpersonally and to learn about yourself and others. You are embarking on a journey of sorts, one that will at times frustrate and at other times stimulate you. You will be challenged to grow and develop in ways you may not anticipate right now. This section is intended to start this process by providing you with some food for thought, i.e., what to expect including some situations that normally occur in residence halls. Suggestions for resolving some of the conflicts that may arise are offered along with ideas for making your residence hall experience both enjoyable and educational.

Cooperation is the realization that you and your roommate are in this together. Such a joint venture requires an honest attempt to make the relationship work. Cooperation encourages mutual satisfaction rather than win-lose outcomes. Compromise does not necessarily mean accepting something less than satisfactory. Living with another person challenges your creativity and problem-solving skills to find ways in which there can be two winners.


Think about yourself: Who are you and what are you like to live with? More specifically, consider the following questions:

  1. What kind of environment or place makes you feel most secure?
  2. What are the key elements of such a place? How can you create a similar feeling in your room on campus?
  3. How would you describe your lifestyle to a total stranger?
  4. Have you shared a room in the past? If so, what did you like or dislike about this arrangement?
  5. How comfortable are you about expressing your needs?
  6. What are your attitudes about:

Your Roommate

You and your roommate can be very different and still have a successful roommate relationship. Maybe you'll become close friends, maybe not. It is important that your expectations are realistic or you may be disappointed. DON'T EXPECT YOUR ROOMMATE TO BE JUST LIKE YOU or like your friends at home. Tolerance and openness to new things are necessary components of a successful residence hall experience. Expect to encounter some problems. After all, it's unrealistic to expect two strangers who share a small space to get along all the time. Expect a little "cabin fever" during the winter when you may feel like climbing the wall if your roommate tells that same old joke one more time. Talk about your expectations of each other.

We recommend filling out a Roommate Agreement Form with your roommate at the beginning of the school year to help establish and maintain a cooperative living environment between the two of you.

Your Suitemates

We also recommend filling out a Suitemate Agreement Form with your suitemates at the beginning of the school year to discuss how you will use any shared spaces. You can give this form to your RA for safekeeping. If you need to refer to it in the future, your RA will provide you with it.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution Skills

Good communication is essential for a successful roommate relationship. Talk about what you expect from this relationship, when you expect to study, sleep, play music or video games, etc. When something your roommate does bothers you, talk about it.

Most people do not intentionally choose to be inconsiderate of others. Things that might irritate you may be acceptable to another person (and vice versa). Differences often are unappreciated. So, assert yourself. Before you approach your roommate, determine what your objective in the situation is. If roles were reversed, how would you want someone to approach you?

We recommend filling out a Roommate Agreement Form with your roommate at the beginning of the school year to help establish and maintain a cooperative living environment between the two of you.

Helpful Hints For Good Communication

Getting Help

Your Resident Assistant (RA) can be a valuable resource for advice in resolving conflicts should they arise. Your RA can be objective about the problem and offer another perspective. He or she is also trained in conflict mediation and can help facilitate a discussion between you and your roommate if necessary.