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Living with Roommates:  Still Timely Advice

Roommates can be difficult to live with, even if they were initially good friends.  Living with another person for an extended period of time can strain or strengthen a relationship.    

At this point in the 2019-2020 school year, some students are aware of conflicts between them and their roommates.  Even students living off campus will have problems.   

According to recent Forbes survey, trouble between roommates both in and out of college, commonly stems from personal habits.   

One of the biggest points of tension that can lead to roommate failure is keeping shared spaces clean. The topic of cleanliness was highest among people living with friends (47%), followed by strangers (43%), acquaintances (42%) and family (32%). Paying rent (9%), communication (7%) and violating boundaries (7%) were the next biggest issues between roommates.  

Forbes: Dealing with Roommates Without Going Insane. 

Joseph Hrenchir, a Junior history major living off campus, finds that any problems are best resolved through communication.   

“My first roommate and I did not have a relationship, my second one was good, my current ones are decent,” Hrenchir said.  “Occasionally we have problems, but we usually were able to work through them through communication and standing up for myself.”   

10 Tips for Living A Roommate 

Ginny Steinkamp, a Junior RA at the Legacy apartments, understands the problems roommates can face, and encourages those with issues to resolve their issues in a mature fashion. 

“Honestly, in the upperclassmen apartments, we don’t see many (conflicts),” Steinkamp said.  “At the same time, interpersonal conflicts and resolution is something we’re going to be dealing with the rest of our lives.  So, learning to address those kind of conflicts in a healthy way now, builds on things in the future.”   

Though the year is almost over, Steinkamp encourages all students to form positive relationships with their roommates.   

“Go out of your way to build community within your living environment before these conflicts even arise,” Steinkamp said.  “And be direct.  And when (issues) arise, even small things, address them in a non-emotional matter.”   

Contact Information for Residence Directors can be found on the Employee Directory. 

Ginny referred to the Benedictine value of community as a highlight for the RAs.  Since the goal of living with others is to become a better person, Ginny recommends students be direct when addressing concerns with their roommates, but should always refrain from personal attacks.   

Ginny encouraged students to find resolution to their problems before involving an RA or the Residence Director.   

As the 2020 room draw looms ahead, Ginny offered some advice for selecting who students should live with.   

“It’s great to live with close friends if you have similar life styles, but consider taking someone who you don’t know as well as your best friends,” Steinkamp said, drawing from her personal experiences.  “As a sophomore, I lived with seven other women, and I only knew three of them really well.  But I got to grow in a relationship with them.”   

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