Talking about Roommate Expectations

Roommate relationships are one of the foundations for building a strong community within our residence halls at Bucknell University. Developing a positive relationship with your roommate(s) is a process that takes time and effort.

Each roommate relationship is different, and it is not necessary to be best friends or share every aspect of your college experience together. However, it is important that roommates respect each other’s rights and work toward creating an environment conducive to being a student. Getting to know each other and talking about your expectations of living together can help build that successful relationship. Below are some proactive steps that may help get the conversation started:

Questions to discuss with your roommate(s) at the beginning of the year:

  • Living Arrangements
  • Schedules
  • Study Habits
  • Sleeping Habits
  • Guests
  • Use of Property
  • Noise Level
  • Lifestyle Issues
  • Lingering Questions
  • How would you prefer to communicate with each other if there is a problem?
  • What are you not willing to compromise on?

Basic Communication Skills for Talking with Your Roommate(s)

Bringing up an issue with your roommate(s) can sometimes be a difficult task. There are different ways to talk to your roommate(s) about an issue in a civil and respectful manner that can help improve the relationship. Below are some basic guidelines for talking about issues that may come up during the year:

Basic Guidelines:

  • Be calm and cool
  • Talk about issues directly in conversation
  • Use statements that begin with “I”
  • Talk about how a situation has made you feel
  • Be careful not to make accusations or assumptions
  • Talk about specific behaviors, not a person’s character
  • Treat your roommate(s) as you would want to be treated
  • Think about what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes
  • Be willing to offer solutions and compromise

Seeking Assistance Regarding a Roommate Conflict?

If you are having roommate issues, consider discussing and filling out a Roommate Agreement (pdf).  If a solution cannot be reached by the roommates, speak with your Resident Assistant, Community Assistant, or Head Resident for help or mediation.