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Living with a roommate

Having a roommate is part of college. Here are some tips from students for making the most of your roommate relationship. Questions? Call Residence Life at 617.353.4380.

Living with a Roommate

A successful roommate relationship is one based on communication and compromise, and this holds true if you’re living with friends or strangers. We encourage everyone going into any roommate relationship (regardless of how much experience you have in sharing a room) to do some prep work before move-in.

  1. Share basic information about yourself, and be open minded to what your new roommate is sharing with you.
  2. Talk about what everyone is going to bring to the room, keeping in mind that your room is not huge and you’ll be sharing the space.
  3. Discuss how your expectations about sharing belongings, noise, guests, and anything else you feel will be important in your room. Don’t be shy—the more you discuss these things up front the less likely they’ll become issues later.

Creating a Roommate Agreement

A roommate agreement helps develop common goals and guidelines for living together. Your Resident Assistant (RA) can work with you and your roommate to develop an agreement that will work best for your room. Once you make up an agreement, it will only be successful if you and your roommate adhere to the guidelines that you’ve set.

Talking Points

The following are key areas where conflict and tensions can arise in a room. Consider how you feel about each of these areas and share that with your roommate. Just be aware that your roommate may not feel the same way—compromise is key.

  • Belongings: Some items may be off limits while others are considered shared. Make no assumptions and always ask first.
  • Sleeping and Study Habits: You may be able to sleep through a rock concert, but can your roommate? Are you sure your roommate likes to study while listening to your music? Talk to each other about schedules (day and night) and study preferences.
  • Guests: A great starting point for this conversation is the guest policy. Once you’ve got those guidelines down, talk with your roommate about guests and how often you’re both comfortable having them in the room.
  • Cleaning: Clean up after yourself.

Talk it Out

Even the best roommates disagree occasionally. If an issue develops, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Speak directly to your roommate right away, and never talk about your roommate or the issue behind their back.
  2. Come to a solution where everyone feels comfortable with the outcome.
  3. Respect differences and seek to reach common ground. Remember, everyone has different values, lifestyles, and expectations, but if you continue to work on building a respectful relationship, you will be more successful.
  4. If you are unable to resolve your conflict, bring it to your RA’s attention.