Getting Along With Your Roommate

Healthy roommate relationships take time to develop, and it requires you to make time to find out about each other's background, habits, and pet peeves.

Have a Conversation

It helps when you and your roommate sit down and come to an agreement on a list of "rules" such as below.

  • Fulfill our cleaning chores on a weekly basis.
  • Borrow food, clothing, or any personal items only after asking.
  • Keep noise level down so that we can study in our room without unreasonable distraction.
  • Guests will visit only during mutually-established hours.
  • No drugs.
  • No dirty clothes or dishes lying in the common area.

Other Items to Consider

In addition to the above list, below are more items you may also want to discuss with your roommate. It is recommended that you establish regular meeting times (at least once a month) with your roommate at the beginning of the year, just like a business arrangement. This allows you to address the below items regularly before feelings are hurt, and to settle any outstanding bills.

  • Overnight guest policy?
  • Buying food to share, or each buy and eat their own?
  • Cooking? Who buys? Who cooks? How often?
  • Cleaning chores divided? How often to clean?
  • Utilities bills divided? How will it be paid? By whom?
  • Lifestyle preferences --
  • Particular cultural practices?
  • Study in complete silence?
  • Often have friends over?
  • Usual bedtime?
  • Kind of music? Volume?
  • Home a lot?
  • Habit of locking doors?
  • Like to know where each other are?
  • Drink alcohol at home? How often?
  • Quirks?
  • Pet peeves?

More Tips

  • Communicate often! Talk about the little things that may bother you (e.g., pet peeves) right away, before your resentment builds. It may help to build in regular meetings (perhaps monthly) for all roommates to sit down, pay bills, and talk about things in the apartment/house that needs to be resolved.
  • Some people probably never had to share a bedroom before. Be prepared to talk about differences and to compromise.
  • Treat your roommate as you would like to be treated. Always be courteous and considerate. Saying "thank you" and "please" goes a long way.
  • Don't expect to be best friends. If a strong bond develops between roommates, that's wonderful! Many successful roommates do have different interests, but they do respect and appreciate each other's differences.
  • Disagreements are normal. Openly explore each other's point-of-view and work at achieving a compromise. Conflict persists when you each insist that your roommate agrees with you.
  • If you are wrong, admit it. By doing so, you will encourage your roommate to do the same.

Come to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) in the Student Wellness Center, Room 300B (third floor), to vent, gain different perspectives, and to learn more about healthy relationships and how to resolve roommate differences. If your relationship is impacting your academics, we also have educational counselors who may help with your educational performance. Our personal counselors are available for appointments and walk in crisis counseling.  Please call 408-924-5910 to schedule an appointment or for more information.