Conversations You Should Have With Your Roommates

Posted: October 08, 2021 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 4 minutes

Two students outside laughingAlmost every student at Southern Utah University has lived with others in some form or another, but living with your family is vastly different than living with roommates that you’ve never met before. It’s up to all of you to work as a team to keep your dorm clean and organized, and to have healthy relationships with each other. Below are a few conversations you should have with your roommates as the school year gets into full swing.

Get to Know Your Roommate First

Like it or not, you and your roommates get to spend the whole school year together, so you might as well try to get along and learn about your different lives. You can do this by all sitting together and playing a game like “Two Truths and a Lie” or “Never Have I Ever'' to learn something new about the people you’re living with.

Divide and Conquer Household Chores

Chores can be a pain to do, especially if it feels like you’re the only one doing them. Have a chat with your roommates to figure out who does what chore on which day. Divvying up tasks can help them get done faster so you don’t have dishes piling up in the sink all the time.

Set Guidelines for Guests

There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as walking out into the kitchen in your choo-choo train jammies to get a snack…only to realize that your roommate brought over their cute friend and didn’t bother to tell you. To avoid such instances of mortification, talk with your roommate about when it’s okay to have people over and to give you a heads up beforehand so you can change into something more sensible before it’s too late.

Sharing is Caring… Sometimes

It’s perfectly alright to allow your roommate to borrow a personal item like a pencil or a sweater. But be sure to draw the line on what they can use before they ask to use your toothbrush. If you want to borrow something that belongs to your roommate, be sure to ask them first, and vice versa. The same rules apply to food that belongs to someone else. And remember, it’s alright to say no. Your things are just that; yours.

Night Owls and Early Birds

At some point in your busy college life, you will need to catch some Z’s. If your roommate is sleeping, maybe don’t blast Led Zeppelin at two in the morning. Go over your personal sleep schedule and ideal sleep environment with your roommate so you can both be respectful to each other and get the rest you need.

Blasting Tunes 

Everybody has cried their eyes out while blaring Taylor Swift, but the next time you do so with your roommate around, be sure to check with them about what qualifies as too loud. It’s perfectly alright for either of you to rock out…unless the other is trying to study. If that is the case, maybe consider studying in the library or setting time limits on when it’s okay to have a dance party in the kitchen.

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Have a conversation with your roommate about when it’s appropriate to lock your doors, so that the next time you run to Starbucks and forget your room key, you aren’t stranded in the hallway until your roommate gets back from class. A second piece of advice? Try not to forget your key so that this doesn’t happen.

Communicate with Each Other

Sometimes, you and your roommate cannot see eye-to-eye. Maybe they’re being disagreeable or they’re spreading gossip about you to your other roommates. Before getting angry, try to have a civilized conversation with them. Tell them how you’re feeling and why. Don’t force blame on them, but explain that what they did hurt your feelings and ask them politely to stop. Direct the discussion in a way that you two can come to an understanding of each other and reconcile before things can get any worse.

Call in a Third Party

Maybe you talked to your roommate and it didn’t go well, and now you’re both angry and not even looking at each other. For consistent or seemingly unresolvable problems, Resident Assistants (RA’s) are trained to mediate conflicts as well as build community. One way open communication is promoted is via a "Roommate Agreement" that roommates draft with the guidance of their Resident Assistant. This document governs the activities of the space in which the roommates live. Talk with your Resident Assistant to see the roommate agreement and to solve any roommate conflicts.

Be There for Each Other

Roommates are your first group of built-in friends in college, and each of you have a responsibility to yourselves and each other. Be there for each other and lean on each other when any of you have a bad day. Your roommates are your family on campus, and families stick together. This doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends forever, but college is a lot more pleasant when you are all civil and kind to each other.

For more information about roommate agreements and ways to make dorm life more enjoyable, contact your RA or the SUU Housing Office 435-586-7966 or .

Tags: Student Life Housing

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