Getting Ready for a Roommate
Welcome to University Housing and Food Service!
We want your time with us to be enjoyable, comfortable, and welcoming. Part of our dedication to ―Living, Learning, Leading! includes giving our community members tips and instruction on how to have your first and most important roommate discussion. Our core values for the roommate relationship are:
- Mutual Respect for each roommate’s belongings, value system, and the right to live and study safely.
- Communication between roommates on any and all issues that affect the roommate relationship.
- Flexibility within the roommate relationship and the community, as conditions may change from time to time
Getting Ready for a Roommate
Sharing a room and living in a community are learned skills. There are benefits to developing good relationships. Relationship skills you build now will serve you later in other relationships. College students are mature and capable of handling the responsibilities of this opportunity: responsibilities including confronting someone who is violating your rights, being accountable for your own behavior, and recognizing the compromises necessary for living with other people. In order to do this, communication is a necessity!
Differences are normal, and are an opportunity for growth and learning about different people and their styles. Some roommates will become close friends—many will never be close, but will live together respectfully. Each roommate owes the other the courtesy of speaking to him/her first. The basis of every new relationship is communication. Don't put off problems! By communicating openly, directly, and immediately as issues arise, they are more easily resolved. Don't assume that relationships will be conflict-free. All real relationships have conflict! Conflict can even be a tool of interpersonal growth! Use the following tips to prepare a living agreement with your roommate:
- Being honest and open now can set the stage for future conversations about how your relationship is changing as the weeks and months go by. Try to push yourself beyond making a good impression!
- Spend adequate time to go through this exercise alone before negotiating with your roommate. Then verbally share results with each other.
- Next, all roommates must negotiate and sign a Roommate Agreement.
- Remember, agreements can be re-negotiated at any time; your RA, ARCC, and RCC can help mediate disagreements.
The Written Agreement
You and your roommate will discuss the following questions and draft the official narrative of your roommate agreement. Write something that represents the spirit of your living arrangement that you can be held accountable to (i.e., ―we will share most items (except toothbrushes), but it is expected that we ask first, or ―in order to have an overnight guest we must ask our roommate X day(s) in advance, etc.). This will be signed and turned into your Resident Advisor AND copied to be kept in the confines of your living space.