Roommate Meeting



I'm a list-maker. For some reason, lists bring me comfort. I like organization so there's probably a link there. Can you relate? Sometimes my lists become overwhelming and I need to just scrap one and begin again. But other times I really appreciate having a list to keep me on track.


While we would all love a perfect roommate, the fact is that doesn't exist. Last time I posted 10 tips for a successful college roommate experience.

As I was writing that post I realized that some direction for a roommate conversation might be helpful. I decided to create a master list of topics and questions to consider as you work on your roommate relationship. I don't suggest going through all of them in one sitting, but as various topics come up, decide which questions need to be addressed.

Then sit down and have a conversation.


Remember a few things before I outline the questions:

  • Set a time to talk when you both are not distracted

  • Turn off your tech - take notes on paper. If you must use a computer or your phone, then do, but don't check social or texts!

  • Pray first! Pray for your conversation and your relationship. I provide a prayer below if you aren't comfortable coming up with your own prayers.

  • Agree on your topic (the list below is organized by topic).

  • Discuss your goal for the conversation - do you want to have an agreement or just understand the other's perspective?

  • Take turns and LISTEN.


ROOMMATE PRAYER:

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me this roommate at this time in my life. I thank you for the gifts we each bring to our shared home. Please guide our conversation today that we would understand each other and make decisions that honor each other and You. Please help us to understand each other when we disagree and respond with kindness. In Jesus's name, Amen


ROOMMATE DISCUSSION TOPICS AND QUESTIONS


Relationship:

  • What do you want from the roommate relationship? Friends? No relationship? Study partner?

  • What are three of your most important values? Share about them and why they are important to you.

  • What is one of your favorite childhood memories about your home? How does that impact what you want from your roommate relationship?

Kitchen:

  • Who is going to cook?

  • Who does dishes?

  • What does that mean - wash by hand? When are those put away?

  • Dishwasher? When does the dishwasher get run? Who empties it?

  • What if dishes are put in the wrong spot?

  • What dishes are being used? Are you sharing dishes? What happens if dishes get broken or lost?

  • What does a "clean" kitchen look like - counters, stove, range, sinks?

  • Who cleans out the refrigerator and when? Who decides what gets thrown out?

  • Who cleans the kitchen floor and when? Is it part of cleaning floors in the entire dorm/apartment/house?

Bathrooms:

  • What items are shared? Who buys them and when? How are you going to keep track of this?

  • Where do you keep items that are not shared? Is there ever a condition under which someone else can use your personal items?

  • Who cleans the bathroom? What does "clean" mean? Who buys supplies for cleaning? When will they be purchased? Where will the cleaning supplies be kept?

  • What are daily cleaning tasks (i.e., wipe down mirror after brushing teeth; swish toilet; sweep floor; clean sink)?

  • Do you use an anti-smell spray (think poopouri)? Who buys it? Is this a shared item?


Bedrooms (shared):

  • Does each of you make your bed each day?

  • When do you expect each other to clean your side of the room? What does "clean" look like in bedrooms?

  • Is it okay to eat in the bedroom? What kinds of food?

  • Are guests permitted? What times? What about overnight guests? If so, what's the plan for letting your roommate know (i.e., will you text or call? how much notice is needed? Can the roommate refuse to allow someone to stay over?)?

  • What about room decor? Is anything off-limits (i.e., think language, nudity, sexuality, faith-related, spiritual, etc.)?

  • Is there a "lights out" time? Are there exceptions?

Bedrooms (single):

  • Do you expect the door to be kept closed? Does it depend on how clean the room is? How will you communicate that?

  • Are beds expected to be made each day?

  • How often do you expect rooms to be cleaned?

  • Is it ever acceptable to show someone else's room to others? If yes, under what circumstances? Does the room owner need to know in advance?

  • Are overnight guests allowed? With how much notice? Can anyone refuse to let people stay over?

General Living Space:

  • How many people are allowed over (is there a maximum occupancy)?

  • Are parties allowed? Certain days? Who has to agree? How much notice do roommates need to give the others that a party is going to happen?

  • How late can friends stay? Are guests allowed to stay in the living room overnight?

  • Who cleans general living spaces? What does "clean" mean? Who buys cleaning supplies? How often is it cleaned? How will you keep track of that?

  • What about room decor? Is anything off-limits (i.e., think language, nudity, sexuality, faith-related, spiritual, etc.)?

  • Are there any shows/movies you'd rather not have on in public spaces (think offensive here, not preferences)?

  • Who pays for subscription services? Can everyone use them?

Cleaning:

  • Who cleans what rooms?

  • Is vacuuming done by room or the entire home?

  • Who buys cleaning products?

  • Will you have a cleaning schedule? (recommended)

  • What do you do if someone doesn't like how someone else cleans?

  • What does "clean" mean for each room?

  • Who washes dishes and when? Are they dried and put away immediately?

  • Is there special cleaning needed before guests come over? Who does that?

Guests:

  • Are there "off-limits" times for guests?

  • Are there any off-limit rooms?

  • Are guests allowed to spend the night?

  • Can roommates refuse to allow guests?

  • What are party rules?

  • How will you handle disagreements about guests?

  • Who feeds guests?

General:

  • How will you document your agreement on these issues?

  • How will disagreements be handled?

  • What happens if someone doesn't do what they agree to do?

  • What's the best form of communication if there is an issue that needs to be raised?

  • Is alcohol allowed in the home (regardless of resident age)? What about drugs? Smoking? Vaping? Marijuana?

  • Do you expect to be friends or just roommates?

  • Is anyone allowed to answer your phone if it rings in a public space?

  • Is there a general study time? What do you do if someone is studying and the rest of the roommates are being loud or having a party?

I know this is a long list, and it's not even exhaustive! Remember that you don't have to review the entire list - just address questions or topics as they are relevant.


What questions did I miss? What do you think roommates should talk about to avoid disagreemnets?


Be well!

Andrea


PS Did you find this article helpful? I would be honored for you to share it with your friends and college-aged loved ones 💖


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