The Counselling Centre

Living with a Roommate

Finding the right roommate is just as important as finding the right place to live. Great apartment plus bad roommate equals daily torment. Great apartment plus great roommate equals life of ease. As in so many other facets of life, communication and consideration are the keys to a pleasant life together. It's not marriage, but it's as close as you can get without a honeymoon and diamond ring. Try these strategies to help navigate the hidden quirks even the nicest people can have:

  • If possible, before you become roommates, inventory your habits and preferences: smoking or non-smoking, tidy or casual, stay up late or get up early, punk rock or classical jazz, study alone or with others etc.
  • Work out strategies of compromise for your differences.
  • When you are irritated or pleased with your roommate express it directly and immediately. Don’t store up resentments and explode when he/she commits a minor offense. Don’t discuss your roommate problems with others when you haven’t discussed them with your roommate.
  • Recognize that there are at least two sides to every story. Hear your roommate out. Try to see things from his/her perspective rather than jumping to conclusions.
  • Most problems can be resolved or alleviated. If you can’t work out the situation with your roommate, ask assistance from someone who will be objective, such as a mutual friend or a resident advisor. This person can meet with you and your roommate to help you resolve the problem.

Living with a roommate can be an excellent experience in learning more about yourself and about how to communicate and relate effectively to others. Knowing how to assert yourself and how to empathize with others are valuable skills in all relationships.

The Counselling Centre offers individual and couples counselling to help with these issues. For more information, call The Counselling Centre at 902-420-5615 or drop by our office on the 4th floor of the Student Centre.

For more information on Roommate:

http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/livingatcal/roommate.html