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Living with a roommate is a great experience. It helps you learn more about yourself and about how to communicate and relate effectively to others. Knowing how to take responsibility for yourself and how to respect others are valuable skills in all relationships.

Whether you were friends before moving in or met for the first time when you became roommates, living together successfully takes compromise and cooperation. You should not expect that your roommate will be your best friend, but you should work together to build a healthy relationship with each other built on mutual respect. Building a positive relationship is a process; it does not happen overnight and takes effort. 

Tips for a successful relationship with your roommate

  • Discuss important issues from sleep habits to views about sex and alcohol. 

  • Compromise. Practice the art of give and take. Look for win-win solutions. 

  • Try to understand the struggles your roommate may be experiencing.  

  • See things from your roommate's perspective. It may be very different from your own. 

  • Respect one another.  

Resolving Roommate Conflict

Many problems can be resolved through honest, direct communication with your roommate. If you are having a conflict, try to talk it out with each other.  

Use "I" Language

Using “I” language is a great strategy to communicate during a conflict. When using “I” language, describe how you are feeling and how the conflict issue is impacting you. For example:  

  • “I’m having trouble sleeping when we keep the lights on this late.” 

  • “I’m not feeling comfortable when there is an overnight guest in the room.” 

Agree to an Agreement

You can utilize a roommate agreement to help facilitate a conversation between you and your roommate. A roommate agreement will walk you through several common issues roommates face and help provide you with solutions and compromise. 

Need help? We're here.

If the going gets tough, you and your roommate are not alone. Residence Life staff are available to help you work through any conflicts

  • You can schedule conflict coaching with your residence hall coordinator to learn about conflict resolution strategies.

  • You can speak with your Resident Assistant (RA), who can provide you some tips and tricks.

  • Your RA or your coordinator can help you and your roommate fill out a roommate agreement if you are struggling to complete it out on your own.

  • Your coordinator can mediate a conversation between you and your roommate to resolve larger issues that may not be covered in a roommate agreement.

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Living with a Roommate
Penn State Student Affairs
Residence Life

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University Park, PA 16802


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