Living With A Roommate

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LIVING WITH A ROOMMATE

(An excerpt from Workshopsinc)
• Look at your own behavior. Are you infringing on the rights of others?
• Be honest. Being straightforward and direct can help resolve and prevent problems.
• Do not let things build up. Address problems as they happen. Use assertiveness training to help in making appropriate requests for behavior change from a roommate.
• If you have requested the roommate to change his/her behavior, give him/her a chance to change. Thank them for making  attempts to change. This will be more effective than continually harping on them.
• Be flexible about your roommate’s lifestyle. It may not be the same as yours, but as long as he is not hurting himself or others do not try to impose your will on the person. If it is something that is bothersome, talk about it and get the other person’s point of view. If a person’s lifestyle is still causing too much strife, it is probably time to go separate ways.
• Don’t get taken advantage of. Be assertive when you think your roommate is making demands that are unreasonable. If you don’t, you will build up resentment and the relationship will turn sour.
• Agree to disagree. Even the best relationships will hit bad times. When there are points of disagreement in the roommate relationship, sometimes you have to agree to disagree. If it is an item that is too personal or bothersome, you may need to look for
a different place.

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HOW TO MAKE IT WORK

(An excerpt from: http://www.trevecca.edu/student.life/housing/roommates.html)

Communicate: It’s the most important element in building a successful relationship with your roommate. If something is bothering you, the sooner you talk about it, the sooner you’ll have it resolved.

Be Open and Friendly: It takes a lot of energy to be either on the giving or receiving end of the cold shoulder. Instead of giving it…talk about what’s bothering you. If you get it…ask why.

Be Understanding: Everyone can be irrational at times, or in a bad mood, or just down. Try to understand the motives behind your roommate’s actions. Helping one another through the tough times builds a strong relationship.

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 find your quiet time when he/she is at class or an activity. If it doesn’t work our naturally…talk about it.

Ask Before You Borrow: Each person has a different comfort level on sharing belongings. Unless you already have come to an agreement on common-use items, ask first and avoid misunderstandings.

Define Neatness: There’s a lot of room between a neat-freak and a slob. Talk with your roommate about where you fall on the scale. You can each adjust accordingly and find a place that suits you both.

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ROOMMATE STARTER KIT
(An excerpt from: http://www.nmsu.edu/~stiles/Living/Living-13.htm)

• Where is my roommate from?
• What is he/she most looking forward to this year? Least looking forward to?
• What does he/she like to do in his/her free time?
• How are phone messages going to be handled?
• What about neatness and cleanliness of the room?
• How much messiness is too much? What will we do if one of us does not equally share in the responsibility of cleaning  the room/bathroom?
• When is it okay to have guests of the same sex visit? What about guests of the opposite sex? At what time(s) of the day/night?
• If one of us is gone for the weekend, is it okay to have someone stay over and sleep in our bed?
• Under what conditions and at what time of the day or night do we each study best?
• At what times of the day do we each function best?
• How do pressure and stress affect each of us?

• How do we each react when we’re “stressed out?”
• What about borrowing/using each other’s belongings?
• What are our individual needs for privacy?
• How will we handle payment on shared items like the refrigerator, toilet paper, and bath soap?
• How much sleep do we each need? What can we each sleep through and what keeps us awake?
• How will disagreements be handled? How do we each react when we’re angry?
• In what ways are we alike? In what ways are we different? How will these similarities and differences impact on our  relationship?
• Do any of us have a health problem that the others may need to be aware of?
• What are our individual thoughts and beliefs concerning the use of alcohol?

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Tips
(An excerpt from: http://www.valdosta.edu/spec/20030818/news8.shtml)

• Keep in mind that part of college life is about getting to know people  different from yourself, so be tolerant and try to embrace those differences.
• Wait until your roommate arrives before arranging the room.
• Be respectful of your roommate’s sleeping habits. If she likes to go to  bed early, don’t aggravate things by playing music very loudly until 2 a.m.
• Spend a little quality “alone” time with your roommate, talking over things, joking around.
• Don’t use your roommate’s belongings without permission.
• Take turns emptying the trash and doing other chores.
• If you’re messy, keep it on your side of the room.
• Don’t hog the phone.
• Get out of the room as much as possible. Check out activities in your hall and around campus.
• Check with your roommate before inviting friends over, especially if they’re spending the night.
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Final Words of Wisdom

(An excerpt from: http://www.collegewalk.com/articles/roommate.htm)

Tell your roommate how you feel. Let your roommate know right up front if something bugs you. Say something positive to defuse
a potentially volatile situation.

More often than not, college roommates become excellent friends. The one thing that can mess up any living arrangement or any other kind of friendship is lack of communication. I know people who are excellent friends now and it all started when they were college roommates by luck of the draw. Maybe your experience will be the same.

You should never feel uncomfortable in your own room, nor should the student who is lucky enough to live with you. Your room is your home away from home. But it’s also your roommate’s home, and it’s important to respect that. If you ask your roommate to keep the noise down after a certain hour or refrain from exercising their annoying habits, they will respect that request if they really care.

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