Five Tips for a Successful Roommate Relationship

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hi, I’m your new roommate!

For many first-year college students, living in a residence hall may be the first time they have to share a room with another person. It can be an exciting, but at times trying experience, says Jessica Moran Buckridge, an associate director in the Office of Residence Life at Saint Joseph’s University.

“Learning to live with someone else, who may have different habits, likes and dislikes, can be difficult for some students,” she says. “Living with a new roommate means getting to know that other person, but it is also a time for you to learn about yourself. While you think of what you need from a roommate, also be sure to reflect on your own behaviors and how your actions may positively or negatively impact others.”

Her advice for new roommates:

1. Talk to each other – the old-fashioned way, face-to-face, and not via text messaging or Facebook.  A real conversation is the best course of action when an issue comes up.  It shows that you respect your roommate and your relationship enough to set aside some time to discuss how to productively resolve problems.

2. Address any issues – even small ones – early, before they fester.  A big conflict may develop if a series of small, unaddressed issues pile up until the smallest event triggers a larger-than-life argument.

3. Use your resources.  Resident assistants, as well as professional residence life staff members, are trained in conflict resolution and can help with difficult conversations.

4. Get to know yourself as well as your roommate. Living with a new roommate means getting to know that other person. However, it is also a time for you to learn about yourself. While considering what you need from a roommate, also be sure to reflect on your own behaviors and how your actions may positively or negatively impact others.

5. Write it down. Many schools, including Saint Joseph’s, use a Freshman Roommate Agreement form.  If your school doesn’t have one, make your own.  What are your – and your roommate’s - sleep patterns, study habits, and expectations regarding visitors and guests, space and personal property, cleaning and communications? That knowledge can be a powerful tool for establishing a compatible relationship.

Moran Buckridge can be reached for comment at 610-660-1064 or at jmoran@sju.edu, or by calling the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.



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