Roomies

It is now almost a month into the Spring semester, for new roommates the honeymoon phase is nearing the end, and for continuing roommates you getting back into the swing of things.  By now, you should have a good understanding for each other’s preferred lifestyle. For some this may be working out perfectly, while for others it may be challenging to forge two different lives together.

You will need to be honest from the start.  Decide for yourself what is acceptable for your living environment, what is not acceptable for your living environment, and what are your nonnegotiable items.  Nonnegotiable are the deal breakers for you, these are things that you cannot live with.   After confirming how you feel about the issues you should schedule a time to talk with your roommate(s) and create house rules or a roommate agreement.  You should treat this meeting seriously and as you would any business deal.

Many universities have roommate agreement forms available through your RA to help walk you through the process. The roommate agreement allows you to talk about issues before they occur. The agreement should be taken seriously and done as soon as possible.  The agreement will help comfortably have tough conversations before an incident occurs. Even if your school does not have an official form, you can complete a roommate agreement on paper. Whatever method you use be sure to post it in the room to serve as a reminder to everyone.

Before you decide that things are just not working out and want to move, consider if you have done everything that you could do in the situation.  There are a few questions you may want to consider.  The first thing to consider- are my roommate rights being violated?  Each resident has rights in their room.  Each roommate has the right to be comfortable, respected, and to have privacy in your room.  If rights are not being violated, it is probably a rather simple situation where you will need to compromise and meet in the middle.  If rights are being violated, it is probably a more complex problem and you will need to discuss the issues with your RA during a roommate mediation.

Relationships are about compromise and realizing that someone does things differently than you may do things can be difficult to adjust to. Evaluate if your requests are reasonable. It is reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to discuss overnight guest prior to them staying, but it may not be reasonable to ask your roommate(s) to never have guests in the room.  It is reasonable to request that your roommate(s) not disturb you while are studying, but it may be unreasonable if you do not reciprocate.  You will need to compromise and meet in the middle and find a solution that will work for both of you.

The last thing to consider- did I do everything I could? After you have tried everything—an agreement, setting expectations, compromising, discussing differences, and an RA mediation, you may determine the living situation may not be the best and a move may be the best solution.  It is possible that things just will not work and nothing you do or say will help.  It is okay to move on after you have done all you can in the situation. Your RA can assist you in locating a new room. You want to make the moving out process and smooth as possible. You never want to burn bridges, it is a small world and you never know when you may come across that person or someone that knows that person in the future.

In the end, it may not work out and that is okay.  It is important to remember to give it a chance.  It may be awkward and require more attention at first, but as long as you develop and display a mutual respect for each other, you should be able to make it work for the short time you will be living together.  When your relationship hits a little turbulence, do not run away, stick it out and do everything on your end to make it work.

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