How You Can Better Communicate with your Roommate(s) 


courtesy of TED

Jasmine Whitfield, Staff Writer

Living with other people can be a challenge! Especially if you have never shared a space before or are unfamiliar with someone you are rooming with. As college students, many of us have heard roommates’ horror stories who did not get along. Most roommate disagreements are caused by miscommunications or the lack of communication between both parties. If you use these tips on better communicating with your roommate(s), your living situation can improve and leave all parties happy.

Be honest with your roommate(s).

It is essential to be open and honest with your roommate(s). Please do not lie to them! Make sure when communicating, you are honest to avoid arguments. You need to trust the people you live with, and they need to trust you. Without trust, it can make living together very unpleasant. So, do yourself and everyone else in the shared space a solid by staying honest.

Immediately have a discussion when issues arise.

It is necessary not to put off important talks with your roommate(s). Communications Professor Robert Kagen of Hillyer college stresses that “if your roommate(s) are bothering you, it’s important to tell them immediately! Don’t let it continue for days, weeks, or months”. Communicating your expectations and your concerns with your roommate(s) helps prevent the situation from continuing or getting worse. So next time you are upset with your roommate(s), you should talk about it as soon as possible. 

Set boundaries with each other.

Having a conversation with your roommate(s) about boundaries from the start is another great way to avoid future problems. Gallaudet RA, Valentina Jimenez, says, “Once you both establish and write down what you find acceptable and unacceptable you can move forward positively.” Communicating your boundaries leads to a positive living arrangement where everyone can feel happy and respected. So try writing down each others’ boundaries and better understand how your roommate(s) feel!

When communicating an issue with your roommate(s), use “I” statements, as Valentina suggests. She believes that “I statements are better than using “you” statements so that you are not “accusing.” Your roommate(s) could feel attacked, which nobody wants. Instead, “I” statements make the conversation more about how you feel than accusing them. Using “I” statements, you can make sure that you are communicating what you need and making your roommate(s) feel comfortable. 

Bond with your roommate(s) 

It is often quite awkward living with someone, especially if you do not know them! Park River RA, Kayla Newsome says even little things like “sitting in the common room helps a lot,” it is the perfect space where you can talk and get to know each other. Even if you know your roommates, still make that effort to bond because it makes the living space a more positive environment! 

Do not wait till issues arise and be proactive! By following these communication tips, your living arrangement can only improve. So, communicate with your roommate(s), so everyone can be happy!