cartoon of two young men chatting

Roomie Rules: How to Turn Awkward into Awesome

Your college career marks a new chapter where you’ll have the chance to learn so much about yourself, and your roommates. Read on for tips and tricks to getting along with roommates and making the most of your living situation.  

Chris Harden, community director and former resident advisor, said most roommate disputes arise during October, March and January, and the most common points of contention revolve around cleanliness, common spaces, guests, schedules and communication.  

“Issues pile up as time goes on, and what was once a very manageable living situation becomes a yelling match over seemingly unimportant problems,” Harden shared.  

However, there are plenty of ways to prepare for and work through roommate conflicts, which can be broken into three categories: communication, mediation and recreation.  


cartoon of two young women talking

Whether you’re living with long-time friends or new acquaintances, communication is always key. Respecting boundaries, enforcing rules and coming to difficult agreements can be hard, but being open and prepared to face conflicts can soften the blows.  

How to communicate efficiently?  

  • Every person is unique, so understanding personal needs is essential to good communication. Harden’s “absolute favorite resource” is the tried-and-true Roommate Agreement PDF.  
  • Spend an hour taking the Love Languages Test to learn more about your needs and the needs of your roommates. This test is used by organizations around UA for members to get a feel for their teammates.  


cartoon showing two young talking with speech bubbles above their heads

No matter how well you communicate with your roommates, there are bound to be conflicts. During conflicts, mediation must come before resolution.

What are some ways to mediate conflicts?  

  • Plan your conversation ahead of time. Set a time and date that works well for all parties, plan the points that need to be addressed and only discuss the issue during this time.  
  • Reach out to your RA. Your RA can be an unbiased voice of reason during conflicts and has been through many hours of training for this reason!  
  • If you’re still feeling weighed down by any conflicts, never hesitate to reach out for help for your mental health. The UA Counseling Center helps students grow personally through brief counseling sessions, outreach and self-help resources.  


cartoon of two women singing into microphones

With all the hard work done, spend some time bonding with your roommates! A good friendship can lead to an even smoother living situation. Make the effort to bond over a weekly activity or shared experience.  

  • Get crafty! Make personalized apartment decorations that can commemorate your college days. 
  • Cozy up for a movie night at home or grab a matinee at the movie theater! 
  • Always be sure to check out on-campus events. There’s always something around the corner to get involved in.