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Match Made in Heaven: Keys to a Successful Roommate-ship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Chances are you, an oh so curious college student, clicked on this article for three reasons: (1) you’re a freshmen or post quarantine “freshmore” who’s never had a roommate before, (2) you are a junior or senior who is choosing to have a roommate this year; or (3) you clicked on it by accident. Whoever you are, welcome to my guide to a good roommate experience. Expect to hear my interpretation of a roommate relationship based on my own (shoot out to my roomie, Nyla <3), why having a roommate-ship, and most importantly, keys to a good roommate experience.

A Roomate-Ship & it’s ImportanCE?

Having friendly interactions, coming to compromises in disagreements, and being respectful of each other’s space is how I define a general, successful roommate-ship. The importance lies in you being taught or advancing in the big three C’s: communication, cooperation, and compromise. These benefit you in other areas of college and in the outside world as you come into contact with people, possibly like your roommate, who is different from you in their interests, beliefs, and values.

Lastly, after sitting in a class that you don’t like, enduring the “Hampton run-around,” or having unpleasant interactions with other students, your dorm should be a place of peace. If you have a lousy roommate-ship, then the entire equilibrium of your dorm will be thrown off, and you will find yourself feeling uneasy in a place that is meant to be your home away from home. It makes life much easier when you know that you and your roommate have a good relationship. Let’s not add the stress of your roommate to the strains of school work, financial needs, and personal issues.

5 keys to a successful roommate-ship

1. Greet Each Other & Make Small Talk

Even if you and your roommate don’t indulge in a full conversation, it’s good to have some sort of verbal interaction with each other because aver all…you all do live together. A simple “Hey, how was your day today?”, after not seeing each other all day, and a “goodnight” or “see you later!” will break the ice and make your relationship friendlier. However, greeting each other and having small conversations does not have to turn into full conversations every day, but as long as there is some acknowledgment of their existence.

2. Explore campus or causually hangout

Eating at the dining hall, sitting at the waterfront, hanging out in the student center, or even walking to classes together are all good ways to bond with your roommate and become more comfortable with being around them. Also, going to events together may help you not feel isolated or alone. I think that if you never know anyone else in your class year or on campus, then you should be able to count on knowing your roommate. Now, of course, you both may find your own friend groups, but who’s to say you both won’t end up in the same friend group. Just try to be inclusive, and if your roommate declines, then at least you can say that you made an effort.

3. Ask before you take or Touch

Hopefully, as college students, it is widely known that you shouldn’t use or take something that doesn’t belong o you without asking your roommate. Asking first eliminates the possibility of being accused of damaging or stealing anything of theirs. Respect the things that they have in the dorm, just as you want them to respect your belongings. Simply ask them to use something. Remember not to rely on always borrowing things from your roommate because it is no guarantee that they will be comfortable with giving things to you or with doing it so frequently. So to avoid issues, establish ground rules on borrowing things or just come prepared with everything you may need. However, I don’t suggest you both bringing your own TVs for obvious reasons.

4. stay in contact

Having your roommate’s phone number is an absolute must! You don’t have to report your every move, but be reachable in case of emergency. For example, if you were locked out of the room, you would want to text your roommate to see where they are so they can unlock the door for you. After a while, asking your RAs to open the door for you will become repetitive, and eventually, there’ll be a fee. I don’t know about you, but this is college, and I don’t have time to pay extra money for a new key. Also, contacting your roommate over holiday breaks isn’t mandatory, but checking in with each other can be the cherry on top of a successful roommate-ship.

5. Communicate an issue when it first rises

Keeping an issue that you have with your roommate to yourself is the worst thing to do. Don’t prolong the time between when you first have a problem and when you bring it to their attention. If you are reasonably bothered by one of their living habits or dislike something they said towards you, approach them when it is just the two of you and calmly express how you feel directly. Remember that it is not always what you say but how you say it. Be sure to emphasize how the situation makes you feel, as opposed to nitpicking at them. This way, they should be more understanding and make an effort to change the behavior further down the road. If it is just expressing how loudly they talk on the phone interferes with the amount of sleep you get or your ability to focus on your assignments, it is better to communicate your feelings out than to pack them in and allow a couple of issues to explode into a huge brawl. In the event of your roommate not receiving your assertive but kind communication about an issue well, then take the issue to your RAs for further mediation. Moreover, you and your roommate stay in the same dorm hall, stay in the same room, and ultimately, your beds’ are less than eight feet away from each other, so it’s best to put all issues on the table and work towards solutions.

For your pondereing

I would like you to understand that having a roommate may not be the most exciting thing for you, but you must manage unless you want to pay an extra fee for a single or live off-campus. In multiple life experiences, we will have to adapt and learn from them, and having a roommate is just one of the many more to come in and outside of college. How you approach your roommate situation is one of the determining factors of how the rest of the year may play out. Let it be noted that no one expects you to be the best of friends like Pam & Gina, Smokey & Craig, Oprah & Gail, or Kenan & Kel, but acquaintances and respecting one another will suffice. Whether you seek to build a friendship with your roommate or develop an understanding of mutual respect, remember the keys that you have read in this article and you should be all set and ready for success in your roommate-ship.

Elizabeth Veal

Hampton U '24

Elizabeth Veal is a sophomore, Sociology major and Criminal Justice minor at Hampton University. She is from Baltimore, Maryland (shout out to the 410) , and recently joined HerCampus in September 2021. She is excited to make new memories with her fellow members, improve her writing skills, and become involved in all that HerCampus and Hampton University has to offer. In her spare time, she enjoys watching classic Black films, listening to R&B and old school rap. Her favorite artists are Jhene Aiko, Giveon, J Cole, and Tupac.
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