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Roommate Conflicts

Two students in their residence hall.

July 08, 2019

Dorm living is one of the most memorable parts of a college experience. A residence hall is a student’s home away from home, and like a common household people disagree. A roommate experience can often make or break a college experience. Even if you are not matched with your perfect roommate, there are ways to make it a great experience.

Isolate the Problem

The first step to solving roommate conflict is to isolate the problem. Maybe its conflicting schedules or a problem with shared space. Either way, to solve a roommate conflict, you must first identify what the problem is.

Bring it Up

Once you have identified the problem, its always a good idea to bring it up with the roommate. A problem cannot be solved if both parties do not know that the problem exists.

Open Discussion

Once the problem is in the open it will provide the option to compromise and discuss. The key things to remember here are to keep the climate of the conversation supportive, not defensive. It can also be helpful to have a Resident Assistant or impartial mediator to help guide the conversation if necessary.

Solutions that can come from this differ based on the problem. However, they can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Setting a bathroom schedule
  • Making a cleaning schedule
  • Creating boundaries, both physical and other
  • Talking about shared space
  • Discuss what items are shared item and what are not
  • Discuss when guests can visit

If living on campus, these topics may have been discussed in your roommate agreements. However, maybe this is a time to take another look at them and reevaluate your agreements.

Seek Help From an Outside Source

If conflict is still occurring, or a solutions not found, it can be useful to seek the help and guidance of your resident assistant. They are trained to complete mediations, give suggestions, and help navigate conflict.


Living with anyone can be tough, especially if you have never met before. It’s okay to have conflict and disagreements, but what is important is how you choose to handle them. Most roommate conflicts can be solved or compromised by simply talking about the issue. Whoever, if this does not work, it is okay to seek help from resources. This is where you will be living for the next few months, and it’s important to make it the best experience possible.