Roommate Relations

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For many of you, this will be the first time you will have a roommate. Living with a roommate can be one of the most rewarding experiences but it can also have its challenges.

Below are tips for students living in the NYU residence halls from the Office of Residential Life that you can utilize this summer:

1) Communicate.

This is the most important thing you can do to help foster a strong roommate relationship. It’s much easier to live positively with another person if you discover who they are and what they’re all about. So get some good conversation going in the early stages of your roommate relationship. In your own words you can ask questions like:

  • What do you get really excited about?
  • What movies/plays/TV shows/music do you like?
  • Where are you from? What was is it like growing up there?
  • What makes you really happy? What really annoys you?
  • Are you a morning or night person? When do you usually go to sleep?
  • How do you want to split up room cleaning duties?

If you have a concern or a conflict occurs, it can get ugly fast if roommates do not talk to one another, start complaining to others, or you expect your roommate to just know when something is wrong.  Instead, be proactive in making your communication style healthy and effective. Do not lapse into assumptions about your roommate’s behavior. There are always more layers to a person than meets the eye.  Do not gossip–it just lets the problem continue, spreads negatively, and keeps your roommate in the dark.  Say what you mean–dancing around an issue may confuse your roommate, and it rarely gets to the core of the concern.  Be direct and to the point when communicating to your roommate and neighbors. Finally, there will be times when you connect, leading you to agree on an issue and other times when you will be at odds and disagree with each other. Sometimes, agreeing to politely disagree is also a solution.

2) Living with someone is about much more than the stuff in your room.

Be flexible.

Be respectful. True respect is a key component of healthy roommate relationships, whether it’s respecting people’s values, belongings, responsibilities, or time.

And communicate to help form a healthy roommate relationship.

3) Compromise.

Discuss with your roommate at the start of the program how you want the room to be set up; how important is neatness to each of you?; how technology such as smartphones and laptops will be used (Is it okay to answer each other’s phones? should you use headphones when watching movies on your laptop or listening to music? How will you keep your stuff safe in the room? Will you lock the door when you leave the building or when you are down the hall?); what is okay to share and what isn’t; when is it okay to have friends in the room and when can there be quiet study time, etc.  Talk things out and make decisions together to help establish a roommate relationship and guidelines for your living situation.

4) You roommate may not wind up your best friend. And that’s okay.

Two different people can live together and learn from each other.  Tact, respect, care and an open mind will increase your chances of developing a solid roommate connection.

5) Reach out to your PA.

Your PAs can help you navigate roommate relations. If you have concerns about your roommate or need help figuring out how to address a conflict, ask your PA!  They are there to help you, can give you guidance, and can even help facilitate discussions between you and your roommate if you need.

Remember, as anxious or excited as you are feeling about living with someone new, your roommate is feeling the same way!  Be respectful, communicate openly and directly, and be flexible, and you and your roommate can create a great environment over the 4 week program.

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