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How to be a Good Roommate

Whether you’re a freshman living in the dorms or upper classmen staying off campus, knowing how to be a good roommate is important.

Having a good relationship with the person or people you live with can make or break your school year. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, even though that might be easier, but knowing how to get along and respect each other is key to making the living situation work. These tips will make your roomie/ roomies not only tolerate you but maybe even like you.

Talk it out

Communication is key while maintaining healthy relationships with people. Sometimes people don’t know how to properly discuss awkward situations. I’ll go over a little bit of a run down on how to deal with these tense moments. Don’t worry its super simple.

Step 1: Shhhh

Communication doesn’t mean you need to be the one talking the entire time. If they bring something up give them a chance to share their opinion first. Having an important conversation with someone is a lot harder when you keep talking over them or interrupting.

Step 2: Tune In

Really take a step back and actively listen to your roommate. It not only can help you understand their side but it’s also just a respect thing.

Step 3: Evaluate

Take a minute before you say anything and really process what your roommate is trying to convey to you. Try putting yourself in their shoes and seeing how you would feel in that situation.

Step 4: Express your feelings

Now it’s your turn to talk. Be aware of the way you are expressing your feelings and try to make sure it’s polite. If you start raising your voice or using profanities they won’t listen, they’ll just get angry and nothing will get solved. 

Bring up the things that bother you too, it may be uncomfortable at first but if you both are understanding and respectful it shouldn’t be a bad conversation. 

Another tip, would be talking about things that bother you right away and not letting it build over time so it doesn’t create a bigger issue. Communication is a two way street, and if you refuse to talk to each other about important things there will be problems. 


Do your part

Everyone has a busy schedule in college. When it comes to classes, organizations, work, studying, and exams it can be hard to fit cleaning into that equation as well. When you do find time you definitely don’t want to clean someone else’s mess, so don’t make your roommates clean up yours. 

You don’t have to go crazy and clean everything spotless every day, but washing the dishes, taking out the trash when it’s full, or sweeping the floors once in a while are super easy tasks that will keep your space tidy. 

It’s proven when someone sees a part of the room clean it makes them feel like they should clean their side of the room. This will hopefully encourage your roommate to clean their space, and other common areas. If it becomes more of a problem make it into something fun to do together. Put some music on and clean once a week. This could be a fun activity and give both of you a study break.  

For simple everyday task, talk about certain chores each person can do and switch every week. This allows it to be fair, so no one is getting stuck with the worst ones, like cleaning the toilet. EW!


Be part of their support system

College can be hard at times, you’re stressed, tired, busy, and far from home. Sometimes you just need someone that will remind you that you’re doing the best you can. 

For most people, college is the first time they are away from their family and home. Sometimes it can take a minute for people to get used the college lifestyle, if this is the case try to be there for your roommate.  Let them know they can come to you and hopefully in return they’ll let you come to them. 

Being part of someone’s support system doesn’t have to be a full time job it could be little things like being their walking buddy at night time, letting them rant about an assignment, asking if their okay, or just letting them know you’re there for them. All these little things add up and if you and your roomie aren’t friends already this is the first step to accomplishing that.


Treat them with respect

I know I’ve mentioned being respectful a few times already, but it’s so relevant to this topic that I thought it deserved its own section. Respect can be shown in many different ways, start with the basics and then talk to your roommate about other things to be considerate about:

  • Not eating their food without permission
  • Being quiet when your roommate is sleeping
  • Respecting their space, and boundaries 
  • Respect their belongings, don’t use their things (shower products, clothes, headphones, etc.)
  • Letting them know when you are having guest over
  • Being polite and calm during conversations 


Create memories

Having a roommate is actually really fun! If you don’t already know your roommate super well invite them to do things together or ask what they like to do. Finding common ground is a good foundation to a beautiful friendship. Here are some suggestions on what you guys could do together:

  • Grabbing something to eat 
  • Getting coffee at your favorite cafe
  • Watching a movie or show together
  • Going for a walk around campus 
  • Making a craft for your place
  • Having a game night
  • Hanging out with each other’s friends 



Remember, you don’t have to spend literally every second together, but getting out of your room or apartment could be a nice change of pace for the both of you. It might even help grow or strengthen your friendship.

The information and topics featured are for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.