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Residence Life

Communicating with your Roommate


Communication works two ways: talking and listening. Neither one is effective without the other. To build a successful roommate relationship you need to keep the lines of communication open. This doesn’t mean that you should share everything but you need to talk actively with your roommate.

A Good Beginning
It is important to start off on the right foot with your new roommate. Even if your roommate is not new to you, you are still new to being roommates and living with him or her will show you things that you never knew about your friend. You should begin by addressing potential problem areas and getting them out in the open so that there will be fewer surprises down the road. Take some time to talk about habits and preferences.

Most roommate conflicts are the result of miscommunication or, in some cases, a lack of communication. If you can communicate effectively it will be much easier to develop a comfortable living environment for yourself and your roommate.

These tips should help you to communicate in a healthy way with your roommate.

  • Talk to your roommate directly when something is bothering you. Don’t discuss it behind his or her back because this can cause a breakdown in trust between the two of you.

  • Be direct. Be clear about what is bothering you. If you don’t tell your roommate that there is a problem he or she won’t be able to do anything about it.

  • If you create a win-win situation then the conflict is more likely to be resolved. Evaluate the needs of both sides before a solution is proposed. And make sure the solution is acceptable to both parties.

  • Respect each other’s differences. Everyone has different values, lifestyles, expectations, and communication styles. Get to know each other and establish common ground. It is easier to solve a problem with a friend than with a stranger.