Ten Crucial Tips for Getting Along with your Roommate

1. Get to know each other.
You will likely be spending a lot of time with your roommate, and s/he will be one of the first people you meet at Marshall. Take the time to discuss important issues about family, hobbies, academic interests, etc. Other helpful questions or conversations may include:

  • My nickname is…
  • My birthday is…4657-S
  • The kinds of grades I want to earn this semester are…
  • The kinds of food I like to eat are…
  • The things I do for fun are…
  • What I like to do for exercise is…
  • Some things I spend my money on…
  • Some things about my family are…
  • Why I came to MU is….
  • My major is (or may be)…
  • Some things about my hometown/high school are…

2.Communicate
Open & honest communication is important in building positive and successful relationships. Take some time and talk to your new roommate about what is important to you and what you both can do when there is a problem or conflict. Living together can be stressful and knowing how the other person operates means that you can resolve conflicts before they grow too large. Some important topics you may wish to discuss may include:

  • The way I feel about loaning things…
  • The way I would like to decorate our room…
  • If something I do upsets you, you would…
  • When I am unhappy or mad, I…
  • What time I like to go to bed…
  • How clean or neat I like the room to be…

3. Be open and friendly.
Remember that both of you may be anxious and concerned about living with a person. Your roommate may be experiencing the same issues and concerns that you are. Talk to each other about what is important to you and things that may affect your relationship as roommates.

  • The way I feel about dating is…
  • My favorite movie is…
  • My favorite food is…
  • My ideal vacation would be to go to…

4. Discuss having guest/visitors 
It is important that you both identify when it’s okay and not okay to have visitors in the room. Also discuss how often you both plan to have people over. How about opposite gender guests? When are they allowed in the room? Do you think you might have overnight guests? What are the expectations of them?

  • I would like to avoid having guests over at these times…
  • If I feel that a visitor(s) overstays his/her welcome, we would handle it by…
  • The way I feel about your friends using my things is…
  • The way I feel about having people in the room when I am trying to study is…
  • The way I feel about getting dressed with members of the same sex in the room…

5. Find an activity you can share.
There’s nothing like having something in common to care and talk about. Do you both like to exercise? Perhaps you both enjoy a particular type of film, music, art, or hobby? Do you plan to join any clubs or student organizations? While you may not be spending all your time with your roommate, it doesn’t mean you can’t do some fun things together.

6. What about study times and habits?
Talk about how you prepare for classes and tests. Do you study in the room or in another place like the library or the Student Learning Center? If you plan on doing most of your work in your room, talk about scheduling times so that you both can fully utilize the room and not conflict with each other’s schedules. Let your roommate know when you have a big test coming up so that they can give you the space and time you need.

7. Give each other space.
Togetherness is great, but too much of a good thing, sometimes that’s not so great. You and your roommate should talk about the time you need alone or with others.

8. Are you okay with sharing?
Just because you are sharing a room, doesn’t mean you may want to share all of your things. Talk about what you want to share or not share whether it be a TV, refrigerator, clothes, CDs, appliances, food, etc.? Setting these boundaries early can avoid conflicts later.

9. Pet peeves & personal habits.
What is you biggest pet peeve? How do you deal with conflict? Do you yell, get quiet, or hold a grudge? Talk about these things with your roommate.

  • The way I feel about loaning things is…
  • The way I react when I am stressed out is…
  • When I’m depressed I…
  • Something that cheers me up when I am down is…
  • I usually let people know I am angry by…
  • I become easily annoyed by….

If all else fails…
If you have tried to communicate and sort through issues and it is simply not working, please contact your RA or RD who are trained to work with students on these sorts of issues.

With a little give and take, you can each adjust accordingly and make your environment comfortable.