How to Deal With Roommate Conflict

Whether your college roommate is a close friend or a complete stranger, you are definitely going to need to know how to survive being roommates.

It’s not easy to live with someone, especially if you are complete opposites, but that doesn’t mean that it is totally impossible to learn how to live with others. In fact, the best part about having a college roommate is that you may build a valuable relationship.

On the other hand, you can turn into enemies. To try to prevent that from happening, bear the following in mind.


As with any blooming relationship, you are going to need to remember respect. Sometimes, it can be really easy for us to forget that all that we need to do in order to get on each other’s good side is to give a little respect. Besides, respect encompasses a lot of different aspects of communication and social conduct.

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For instance, you will want to respect one another’s privacy. You don’t want to butt in on the other’s problems, unless he or she explicitly asks you for help.

Respect each other’s things. Roommates need not draw a line between one’s things and another’s things. This only furthers separation and division. Just set out guidelines on the very first day, and make sure that you all follow those guidelines everyday. If someone has a problem, always communicate it.

Respect entails many other types of obligations that you already know from experience. Just remember the golden rule, and you’ll have very little conflicts: you should treat your roommate just as you would treat yourself.

Manage conflict

Undoubtedly, you’re going to end up quarreling some time or another. This is natural in any relationship, but don’t let conflicts get in the way of your relationship. Don’t allow a grudge to take over your lives.

If you have any problem, big or small, don’t hesitate to talk about it. Have a “sit-down” every week, or at least every other week, to talk about any issues that you may be having, whether with each other or in your separate lives.

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The more you talk about potential conflicts, the better you’ll be at avoiding them.


This is perhaps the most important part of any good relationship. Communication involves managing conflict and giving respect, but it also allows all roommates to open up to each other.

Have a problem? Communicate it in a respectful and adult manner.

Need to ask for a favor? Go ahead. You should talk with your roommates so that you create a friendly atmosphere.

Strive for friendship

If you want to become friends, you have to spend time with each other.

  • Go out to eat.
  • Go to a museum or see a movie.
  • Take a walk or a jog.
  • Study together.
  • Etc.

These are all positive actions that will only lead to a strong, healthy relationship. When one roomie invites another to do something, it makes the second person feel like they are really bonding. It’s a feeling of “belonging,” something which is rarely duplicated.

As you can see, it takes time and effort to really make any relationship work, especially a relationship that involves people living together in a small space. But, it can be done if all the basics of any good relationship are followed.

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