Resolving Roommate Conflicts

Whether you became roommates as best friends or complete strangers, living with someone may present various challenges. Between different routines, schedules, and expectations, you may feel uncomfortable in your own space at times. See below for some tips and tricks for getting along with your roommate.


Make a Schedule. Take some time to discuss your class and work schedules, as well as your preferred times for studying. This will keep you and your roommate on the same page about when you should be quiet in the room and it will also keep you on track for your classes. Decide when you can watch TV or when you should watch videos with headphones. Respecting each other's schedules is important for a friendly atmosphere. If needed, create a combined schedule for when you each are in class, working, and studying and post it in a common area so that it acts as a visual reminder.


Decide when/if people are allowed in your room. Sometimes people want to spend time with their significant other or friends inside of their room. However, their roommate may not like having others in their space. Talk with your roommate about expectations and preferences for visitors. If it is agreed for people to come in, have set times for when visitors are welcome inside your room. This will make sure both parties are comfortable in the space.


Set firm boundaries. Some people are more comfortable with sharing their personal items than others. Talk with your roommate about whether you are going to share things like clothing, food, or electronics. Decide what you are and are not sharing. If you are going to share, discuss whether you will ask before borrowing or if you can borrow freely. This will allow each roommate to know where they stand regarding this obstacle. If you are sharing items such as food and cleaning supplies, determine how you will also share those expenses.


It can be difficult sharing space with someone. Clear communication and a mutual respect are the most important parts for creating a fun, relaxing and safe environment for both roommates. Despite well-intentioned plans and conversations, it is possible that challenges can still arise during your time of living with a roommate. If you find yourself in a difficult roommate conflict, try these steps to resolve the issue:

  • Have a calm conversation with your roommate. When having conversations surrounding a conflict, it’s important to remain calm-tempered and level-headed. Make sure to use “I” statements to describe how a situation is making you feel, rather than placing blame on the other person. Provide an opportunity for each of you to state your perspective so you can work calmly to a compromise.
  • Revisit your originally set expectations. Revisiting expectations you set together when first moving in can provide a common ground for determining what expectations weren’t being met. This can also provide an opportunity for both of you to if any expectations need to be updated or adjusted.
  • Get a third-party mediator involved. If the conflict is becoming too much and you aren’t able to work through it on your own, getting a third-party mediator involved can help you work through the scenario with someone who is unbiased. When looking to use a mediator, you might want to ask your RA or another individual who can listen to both sides with a rational and unbiased opinion.