Roommates & Suitemates

Lifelong Friendships Start Here

You may have come to campus having never shared a room with someone else. Being a good roommate and enjoying living with a roommate will depend upon your ability to listen, communicate, and to compromise. Obviously, you and your roommate are individuals with special interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes. It is not essential that you each share similarities in every aspect of college life in order to be good roommates. As with any relationship, conflicts will arise. How you handle those conflicts will determine your success!

Two women on beds in residence hall

One of the most rewarding aspects of Office of Housing and Residence Life is the opportunity to establish close friendships with people from a variety of backgrounds. Whether the roommate is a close friend from home or whether you are meeting for the first time, the roommate relationship can work and even be fun. For many, sharing a room is a new experience and can sometimes result in a few misunderstandings. It is important to realize that not only do you have a roommate, but you are a roommate. Getting along usually requires work, but the benefit of establishing friendships makes the work worthwhile. Even if a lifelong friendship is not established, learning to respect each other’s differences without infringing on one another’s freedom can be a valuable part of your education.

Two men study in residence hall

You and Your Roommate

Learning and living in close quarters with a person you do not know very well presents a challenge for you: to create an atmosphere between you that permits studying, relaxation and sleeping to occur, privacy needs to be met, and perhaps even a deep friendship to develop. All of the above are more likely to happen if the two of you communicate openly and listen willingly. Start by becoming acquainted with each other’s background, attitudes, habits and moods so you know what to expect of each other. Keep in mind that your roommate will not be a carbon copy of you. There will be differences. You both need to adjust, accommodate, and compromise.

Hints to Make It Work

  • Communicate — The key to a successful relationship with your roommate is communication. Sit down and talk about habits, preferences, moods, and values.
  • Be understanding — Everyone has those days when everything seems to go wrong and bad moods are a result. Try to be understanding and help one another through the hard times.
  • Establish “House” rules — To avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to establish ground rules regarding each other’s belongings, room cleaning (it’s a wide spectrum between neat-freak and total slob), phone use, and visitation.
  • Give each other some space — Togetherness is great, but you can have too much of a good thing. Consider your roommate’s need for time alone and establish your own quiet time.

Roommate/Suitemate Agreement

If you find that you and your roommate and/or suitemates could use some help getting a discussion of issues started, your RA can help. He or she can provide you with a “Roommate Agreement” or a “Suitemate Agreement” to complete. This agreement will focus your discussion on areas of potential conflicts and help you and your roommate come to mutual solutions.

close up of a handshake