A part of the on campus living experience is living with a roommate. A roommate can be someone to socialize with, a study partner, or someone to have a conversation with about your day. If you and your roommate are having challenges living together, we recommend that you discuss your problems with a member of the residence life or apartment staff who can help.
How do I Start Dealing with my Roommate(s)?
Although you have dealt with relationships before, some new tools especially suited to roommate relations are the "getting acquainted" exercise and "roommate contracts" below. Getting to know each other and discussing expectations in the beginning can help prevent problems from occurring.
Getting Acquainted Exercise
Here are some questions to help you get to know each other.
- BACKGROUND QUESTIONS: Family? Motive for being at the University at Buffalo? Major interests? Hobbies?
- STUDY STYLE: What time of day/night do you study? Where? How much noise can you tolerate when studying? What grades do you hope to make?
- EMOTIONAL STYLE: Enjoy being alone? Need or want company? Date? Social butterfly or homebody? Moody? How do you express anger? Depression? Are you aggressive, assertive, or passive?
- LIFESTYLE: Attitudes about religion? Politics? Alcohol? Drugs? Sex? Are you a night owl or a day person? Organized? Plan ahead or spur of the moment? How do you feel about borrowing and lending clothes? Sharing Food? Sharing personal items?
- HOUSEKEEPING: How to divide chores? Sloppy or neat?
- GUESTS: What hours will guests be welcome? How many guests at a time? Overnight guests? Guests of the opposite sex?
Some issues are best dealt with by contracts or formal discussion. The biggest mistake roommates make is not discussing a problem as it develops. For each of the areas, agree upon a procedure and write it down. Even if your roommate is your best friend, you will want to discuss how life as roommates will "work."
- What kind of communication you will have
- Quiet time
- Guest hours
- Room or apartment cleanliness
- Stereo, radio, and TV use
- Personal habits
- Other specific topics
- For those in apartments: doing dishes, purchasing household items such as TP and cleaning supplies, shared food items-is everything fair game or will we mark all food items
Key Points to Remember
- Be willing to speak freely and listen
- Try to understand rather than evaluate
- Be receptive to different ways of life and different values
- Roommates do not have to be best friends (though some grow to be)
- Respect your roommate as a person and be willing to compromise
- Share common interests, build on them, and develop others
- Have other friends
If you and your roommate have followed the instructions in this section, you have taken a significant step toward having a good year. If you have tried these rules and still feel like you're stuck, ask for help from a Residential Life or Apartments staff member.