My roommate and I are not getting along... now what?
Living in a residence hall room can be one of the most rewarding AND challenging experiences in a student’s college career. Many college roommates become best friends and just as many do not. The college roommate experience will be positive if both roommates allow for open and honest communication. Just because roommates are very different does not mean they cannot get along. Effective communication is an important component to resolving any conflict. If you do not express how you feel and give your roommate the opportunity for the same you are both likely to end up angry, hurt, and miserable in your living space. Below are some tips to consider when communicating with your roommate:
The staff of Residence Life has developed a Roommate mediation document to assist students and staff in medicating roommate conflicts. Many conflicts are based upon a lack of communication and our medication process attempts to resolve misunderstandings and communication between roommates.
Utilizing Residence Life Staff
When direct conversation with your roommate(s) does not seem to be improving concerns within the room, your RA can help. RAs are trained in effective roommate communication and conflict resolution. They commonly act as mediators between roommates by providing an objective and impartial setting for residents to communicate and resolve their concerns. The goal of the mediation process is to open the lines of communication and create a positive living experience for both roommates. Please consider approaching your RA for help:
If you approach your RA, you can expect the first question to be "Have you already talked to your roommate about your concern?” If you haven't done so, the RA can provide with helpful suggestions as to the best way to initiate this conversation. Your RA can even help you practice what you’d like to say and offer suggestions to make your conversation more effective and meaningful.
If you have spoken with your roommate(s) already, you can expect that your RA will spend some time getting both sides of the story. In many cases, both roommates are feeling tension and have independently voiced concerns to the RA. Once the RA understands your concerns, he/she will ask the roommates to sit down and talk with each other, listen, and reach an appropriate resolution. In some situations, the concern may be resolved in one brief meeting, other concerns may require additional time and dialogue. When appropriate, the RA may also refer the concern to the professional Hall Director (HD) for assistance in determining a resolution.
The Office of Residence Life does not force students out of rooms unless it is an extreme circumstance. Except for extreme cases, you must go through the mediation process before moving rooms. This process is:
In certain irreconcilable situations, the HD may make the determination that you be given the option to move rooms. If you decide you and your roommate cannot reconcile your differences after following the mediation process with the RA and HD you will be given information regarding available housing alternatives and will be able to decide whether moving rooms would be the best resolution.
How A Parent Can Help With Roommate Conflicts
We understand that living in a residence hall room can be one of the most rewarding AND challenging experiences in a student’s college career. This is especially true for student who in their first year of college or living with someone sharing a room for the first time in their lives. In many cases it is the parent who will hear about any roommate concerns first, often even before the student shares this concern with their roommate or staff member.
Some things to encourage your student to do when getting to know their roommate:
Additional information and details on how a parent can help with possible roommate conflicts. Parent Roommate Letter