Living with a Roommate
Curious about what it will be like to live with a roommate? Having difficulty living with your roommate(s) right now? You’ve come to the right place!
Some UBC Okanagan residents share a room or suite with roommates. We provide students with practical insight and helpful advice about how to share a space with others. Living with people can be stimulating, rewarding and one of the most positive aspects of your university experience. It can also be challenging. We all have our own preferences, habits, and ways of doing things that make absolute sense to us but will be completely annoying to others. (Yes, you have these characteristics too.)
The good news is that you can make this a remarkable experience. Successful roommate relationships don’t just happen, they’re the product of a lot of communication, a bit of effort and a healthy dose of patience, but they can also create lasting relationships and be among the most positive parts of your residence experience.
The resources on this page are designed to help you get your roommate relationship(s) off to a good start or get back on track if you’ve been having trouble.
Reflect a little bit about your values, habits and pet peeves. Think about what will be important to you as a roommate. The better able you are to articulate to your roommate what’s important to you, the better you’ll be able to understand each other and the faster you’ll be able to resolve many challenges before they escalate.
After you receive your room assignment (typically in mid-August), log on to our Online Service and consent to release your email address and name to your new roommate. Many new roommates like to be in touch over email or MSN before moving into rez. It’s a great way to find out a bit more about one another (and decide if you both really need a microwave) before moving to rez.
Prepare for first impressions! Give your new roommate the benefit of the doubt. If he or she doesn’t look like you thought they would or they resemble any of your old friends from high school, think or it as merely another opportunity to meet someone new and work to put aside those first impressions. Once you get past that first impression, you’ll see the more natural person and the one you’ll actually be rooming with for the rest of the year.M
Be kind and be friendly. Get to know one another. Share likes, dislikes, favourite childhood memories.
Plan to do something together. Go to one of the many food service outlets together for lunch, or grab a coffee, anything to get chatting in a low-risk setting.
(Adapted From Suny Potsdam Center)
For new roommates it's important to talk to each other. To be honest and open with various aspects of your lives and any expectations you might have for this next year. A conversation about many of these issues right now can accomplish most of what you will need to work through. All that is required is a guide line on what to discuss, plus a willingness to be self-disclosing, and an attempt to listen to each other.
If needed, you can contact your Residence Advisor for help facilitating a Roommate Agreement. However in the meantime here are some things for you to think about:
- When you move in and first see your new roommate, introduce yourself. Talk about your background.
Ask yourself: what can I say about my family? What seems important to tell about my high school? How I describe the people I spent a lot of time with at home? What my neighbourhood was like and what I was most involved in before coming to university?
- After you have had an initial conversation it is important to discuss some of your personal preferences, habits and characteristics.
Here you might discuss: How you feel about others using/touching your things? How you view your academics? How much sleep you need and when you like to sleep? How you feel about alcohol/drugs? How you feel about guests in the room or overnight? How you feel about noise in the room?
- And lastly, to be prepared for any future conflict or disagreements it might be a good idea to discuss how you deal with conflict in general and your emotional style BEFORE a conflict actually occurs.
For example: what are you like when you are upset? Is it hard for you to talk about a conflict? How are you when things are going well? When do you prefer to be alone? How do you like to be approached with a concern? Something that is likely to annoy you?
If things aren’t going well with your roommate, first try to talk to him/her about the issues that are causing difficulty. Often just communicating your concerns with your roommate will help generate some good solutions.
Here are some suggested compromises to get you off on the right foot. Read on...
If you’re not comfortable talking to your roommate, your Residence Advisor can help you organize your thoughts and figure out how best to approach the situation.
If you’ve tried talking to your roommate and things haven’t improved, your Residence Advisor can help. Advisors are trained in working through challenging situations. Sometimes formal roommate mediation will help; sometimes just having an Advisor help you talk to one another is all that’s needed.