Of all the new experiences college students can expect, sharing a dorm room is often one of the most challenging. Consideration, communication and flexibility are keys to a good roommate relationship. But even the most compatible roomies will clash occasionally. Here are a few sticky situations that might arise and tips on how to deal with them.
Of all the new experiences college students can expect, sharing a dorm room is often one of the most challenging.
Consideration, communication and flexibility are keys to a good roommate relationship. But even the most compatible roomies will clash occasionally. Here are a few sticky situations that might arise and tips on how to deal with them.
Messy versus neat. You might find that you are a neat freak and your roommate is a messy Bessie or vice versa. This is one of those times you both will have to be flexible.
Talk with your roommate and decide what level of neatness or messiness is acceptable to both of you. Then you and your roomie will need to adjust your habits a little. The slob will have to make an effort to make her side of the room tolerably neat and the neat freak will have to lower her expectations for orderliness.
Frequent visitors. If your roommate has friends over a lot, try joining in on the conversation. If you just don’t click with them, get out of the room — visit one of your friends or study in the library.
If your roommate tends to have friends over too often or at inconvenient times, talk with him about an acceptable schedule for visitors.
If the frequent visitor is a boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure to communicate what kind of behavior makes you uncomfortable. It’s not prudish to insist on no hanky-panky while you’re in the room.
Borrowing or using things without permission. In an ideal situation, roommates would have established rules about sharing from the outset. For instance, it’s OK to watch my TV whenever you want, but hands off my food!
If your roommate violates the rules you both have set, don’t get angry. Assume it was just a slip and talk with her about it in a calm manner. If the item is something your roommate has trouble resisting, like your huge stash of candy bars, put them away so temptation won’t be a problem.
Illegal activities. Be aware that alcohol and drug use are certain to be against school policy. If your roommate drinks and/or uses illegal drugs in your room, putting you at risk, talk with him about it. If that doesn’t produce results, talk to your resident assistant.
If you think your roommate might be stealing from you, don’t openly accuse her — you might be wrong. Confide in her that you have noticed some of your things are missing and you would appreciate her help in keeping an eye open for the culprit. If the stealing continues, your resident assistant should be able to help you.
Irreconcilable conflicts. If you’ve tried talking with your roommate to resolve conflicts and nothing seems to change, the next step would be to speak with your resident assistant. But first make sure you both have attempted to sort out your problems yourselves.
Sometimes a third party is needed to solve problems, however, and resident assistants usually are trained to mediate roommate conflicts.
If, however, all attempts to resolve your problems fail, your final option would be to relocate to another room. Moving, though inconvenient, is preferable to living in a miserable situation.
Sources: www.collegeboard.com, www.collegebound.net, www.mycollegeroommateisdrivingmecrazy.com, www.scholarships.com, www.reslife.net, www.brown.edu, www.collegejolt.com, www.sandiego.edu