“We have different class schedules.”
“She ate my cereal.”
“He plays video games at night when I want to sleep.”
I hear them all the time. Reasons… and sometimes excuses… to move out of a residence hall room and into another one. The first weeks of school bring many new experiences to first-year college students, with one of the most significant being the experience of living with a roommate.
It’s not easy – and the Office of Residential Life won’t tell you that it is. We have roommates fill out Roommate Agreements for a reason, but let’s face it, sometimes even they won’t help. Living with another human being in your close proximity is a challenge for anyone because we all have preferences, habits, and needs.
It takes compromise, a LOT of compromise sometimes, to make a roommate relationship work. But before compromise can begin, communication must be open. If you’re experiencing roommate friction, here is my best advice:
- Talk it out. It seems so obvious, but oftentimes students choose to communicate with one another via text message and Facebook chat. Put the phones and computers down and simply converse with one another.
- Do not accuse. Does your roommate even know that whatever it is she or he is doing bothers you? Bring your concerns to your roommate’s attention. Start the talk with: “I feel concerned about _____, because it has affected me negatively by _____. Can we find a way to meet in the middle so we’re both satisfied?” Say it as objectively as possible.
- Be willing to compromise. Think about your own preferences, habits, and needs. Determine what you’re willing to compromise in order to have a positive roommate relationship.
- Keep talking. Keep talking. Keep talking. Don’t assume your conversation is a one-time encounter. Learn to care about you roommate as a whole person, respecting his or her preferences, habits, and needs as much as your own.
Not every relationship will work out for various reasons. Room Freeze ends on September 12, and ResLife is happy to assist students with the room change process. Before roommate situations get to that point, we hope you’ll utilize your Resident Assistant or Area Director. Know that ultimately we want you to feel at home at Loyola and enjoy positive relationships here!