Three Ways to Improve Roommate Relationships

Here we are almost half-way through the semester. At this point in the year, you have probably discovered that your  “roommate agreement” is not as useful as it was. Our roommates can be the thing that makes or breaks our college experience, so while no relationship is perfect, they are worth working on. Here are three tips that I have applied in my dorm:  

1. Meet Monthly

Getting together once a month to cover things like cleanliness, noise levels, “lights out” times, and other points of conflict can help address existing issues. A typical roommate meeting might look something like this: 

1. Check in how everyone’s week/month has gone.
2. Open up the conversation to discuss concerns 
3. Discuss shared bathroom, kitchen, and living areas. 

Monthly meetings allow for communication and can help prevent future conflicts. 

2. Spend Time Together

In my dorm, we like to schedule time at least once a month and do something fun together. Spending quality time with your roommates will help foster community in your room.  Sometimes doing something you all enjoy can help make living together easier. 

Here is a starting list of fun things you could do together: 

1. Go to a pumpkin patch.
2. Have a movie night. Some solid movies my roommates and I enjoy are: 10 Things I Hate About You,  Rear Window, or Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.” 
3. Play Mario Kart
4. Have a paint night or game night. Encourage each other’s creativity or competitive spirit in a healthy environment!

3. Assign Chores

Daily, weekly, and monthly chores help keep the dorm clean and manage expectations. For daily chores, think of things that help keep the kitchen clean: who wipes the counter down? Who makes sure the dishwasher is loaded and running? Weekly chores should focus on things that aren’t necessary to do on a daily basis, like cleaning the toilets and vacuuming. 

Monthly chores could be things that don’t dirty too quickly like microwaves. This will help you and your roommates keep your place tidy and prepare you for health and safety checks. This is something you can discuss in  monthly roommate meetings. In my room, we like to keep the chores as even as possible and give each person the chore they like the best. 

 BONUS: Sticky dot food system

This trick is incredibly simple! Each roommate is assigned a color that corresponds to a matching sticker. (I recommend the primary color stickers from Walmart). Each roommate puts their colored sticker on their purchased food items as a way to mark what is theirs. Food that does not have a sticker on it is shared.

My roommates and I currently use all of them, and they work wonderfully for our living situation. I hope that they can help improve your college experience with your roommates too!