Roommates and relationships

Roommate. A simple word that is powerful enough to create a wide variety of responses amongst people. In college, almost every person has the experience of a roommate. Typically beginning their freshman year at the dorms.

During New Student Week, Isabella, from the Student Health and Counseling Center, gave a talk about making a smooth transition into roommate life and how to manage living with another person.


Living with someone new? “Random roommates” are quite common in college. It definitely can worry some people but kicking off the living relationship to a good start can help kick start a great track for the year. Try and get to know the person. Not necessarily on a deep and emotional level, but well enough to be able to openly talk to them about things. What time do they go to bed? Do they like to play music in the morning when they get ready? What are their study habits like? Will they be inviting a lot of people over? Become aware of the answers to these kinds of questions.

When living with someone else communication is key. Problems will never be solved between people, if they cannot openly discuss the situation and come to a mutual conclusion. Listen first and try to make the conversation less about just yourself, and more about you and your roommate. Create simple ways to keep the communication flowing, whether that is with a white board to post on, or a planning to meet up once a week for lunch.

Worrying about a messy roommate or are messy yourself? When first moving in with someone, establishing a list of chores to be followed within a household or dorm is a great way to ensure a clean space. Split up the work. Do not put it all on one person—for example one person is in charge of the trash the other recycling and so forth.

Always be respectful. Take into consideration your own behavior as well as that of the person you are living with. It is alright to be assertive, but make sure you are not unreasonable. If your roommate is causing problems within the dorm or house, this goes back to communication, talk it out. If you cannot get through to your roommate. Enlist the help of an RA, Peer Mentor, or the Counseling Center. RA’s and Peer Mentors have seen these situations before and are always willing to step in to help find a solution. The Counseling Center is also a great place to go because they do “roommate counseling”. Think relationship counseling, but without the relationship. Sometimes the help of a counselor is exactly what two people need to work out a problem.


Living with people can be hard, but it does not have to be. Take these notes into consideration and enjoying getting to know the person you are living with. College is all about experiencing new things and meeting new people. Who knows, maybe your new roommate could end of being your new best friend?

To contact the WOU Student Health and Counseling Center call (503) 838-8396

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