How To Be The Best Roommate Ever

By Danielle Wirsansky


Having roommates is a part of almost every student’s college experience. Good roommates, bad roommates, college can run the full gamut of roommate experiences. Obviously, everyone wants to have a good roommate and thus a good roommate experience. That takes a lot of luck and thoughtful thinking on your behalf as well as the roommate you choose (or are assigned). Often, you cannot control who your roommate is or how they behave.

But the one factor you can control is yourself and how you behave. How you act as a roommate is incredibly important as well. The best thing you can do to have a positive roommate experience is to be a good roommate yourself. Read on to learn how to be the best roommate ever!



Communicating (and communicating clearly at that) is incredibly important between roommates. It helps make a bad roommate better or help keep a good roommate a good one. It is when you stop communicating (or never communicated well at all) that problems truly begin to arise.

Merrimack College tells its students, “Most roommate conflicts are the result of miscommunication or, in some cases, a lack of communication. If you can communicate effectively, it will be much easier to develop a comfortable living environment for you and your roommate.”

When you have issues, bring it up to them instead of letting it seethe and simmer inside you or talking about it behind their back. Stay calm when something upsets you and try not to fly off the handle. Do not beat around the bush but stay direct when explaining what you have a problem with. Be clear about the issue, give them specific examples of what they have done, and explain why it upset you.

If you can, try and have a resolution or suggestion that could make the situation better, because sometimes people can become defensive when they are told they are doing things wrong or feel like they are being attacked, even if that was not your intention. You do not want to put them in their place or be right while lording it over them. You are trying to fix the situation and make your home or living space a safe space, not just for you but for both of you. You both have the right to feel safe and heard in your own living space.

Respect Rules & Boundaries

Part of communicating clearly is establishing rules and boundaries so that both you and your roommate feel comfortable and respected. Once you have set these rules or boundaries, the most important thing you can do is to actually follow them. When you respect your roommate’s rules and boundaries, the goal is that it will influence them to follow and respect your own rules and boundaries as well. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

There is nothing like disrespecting established rules and boundaries to damage a roommate relationship. If the rules are clearly laid out, there is no pretext for breaking them. You lose trust between the two of you. It makes your home an unsafe space to be.

Respecting the rules and boundaries of your roommate is important, though it does not guarantee that they will respect yours back. It is more important is that you do everything in your power to do what is right and to respect their boundaries, even if they do not reciprocate. That is part of what will make you the best roommate you can be.

Be Understanding

The final aspect of being the best roommate ever is to be understanding. We all know that stuff happens. Things can be out of our hands and out of our control. We can never fully understand what another person is going through.

Maybe your roommate did not realize their actions were violating your rules or boundaries and they did so unintentionally. Maybe they did not understand how much the violation of a rule or boundary might bother or upset you. Maybe there was nothing they could do to stop the violation of your rules.

Hear them out. You do not have to let them off the hook but at least try to understand where they are coming from and how the situation ended up unfolding the way that it did. Do they understand what they did wrong? Do they feel remorse for violating your rules or boundaries? Will they actively take action to try and prevent breaking your rules or boundaries again in the future?

You do not have to be a doormat or let everything slide and your roommate off the hook. But sometimes, a little understanding can go a long way.

You cannot control what your roommate does or does not do. To be the best roommate you can be, you have to be the best person you can be. It is certainly a worthwhile goal to strive towards!

Interested in using our roommate matching formula to find the perfect college roommate for you? Create a profile & take the roommate quiz on Roomsurf! Get Started