7 tips to being a better roommate


1.  Be open to compromise

  • Don’t go into your roommate relationship expecting things to go your way all the time.  Being a good roommate means being considerate of your roommate’s needs as well as your own, and finding a middle ground.

2.  Communicate your thoughts and feelings

  • Don’t expect your roommate to read your mind.  If something is bothering you communicate that to them sooner rather than later, so that you can work to resolve things while they are small, instead of waiting until they’re big.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if something is truly irritating, or if it’s because you stayed up all night typing a paper and might be a little extra sensitive.  Use the 24 hour rule.  If you are still upset about it 24 hours later, then you should talk to your roommate about it.

3.  Forget about Post-It notes

  • Sometimes confrontation can be a scary thing and it is tempting to just leave a note for a roommate instead of talking to them in person.  Leaving post-its, texting, Facebook messages, and Twitter are all bad ideas when it comes to relaying messages to your roommate when you all are living together.  It is really easy for your roommate to misinterpret tone in a written message, and it’s just not the kind of communication that fosters positive roommate relationships.

4.  Don’t assume ill will

  • We operate off of the assumption that nobody wants to be considered a nuisance or irritating.  If you assume that everything your roommate does is to spite you, then it will probably lead you to be accusatory in your approach to resolve conflict, which isn’t effective.  Instead, assume that your roommate did not intend to upset you, and focus on the behavior and how it affected you, as opposed to the person.

5.  Two wrongs don’t make a right

  • Just because your roommate did it first, doesn’t make it ok to continue the cycle.  If you haven’t taken steps to resolve the conflict, then you are participating in the problem just as much as your roommate may be.  Retaliation never leads to resolution of conflict.

6.  Remember the ‘Golden Rule’

  • The ‘Golden Rule’ we refer to is to treat others as you would want to be treated.  It sounds simple, but in the heat of the moment we know that this can be more difficult than it sounds.  If you wouldn’t want to be the recipient of a not-so-nice note, or a mean tweet, then chances are neither would your roommate.

7.  This is most likely you and your roommate’s first time living with someone else other than family

  • Most of our residents have never lived with anyone else before, and if they have, it wasn’t necessarily in such close quarters.  Give each other some credit in that you are building skills that only come with experience.  Stick with it and follow steps like this and you will come out on the other side with many useful skills.