Communication is key to living with roommates

Ben Wolford


Credit: DKS Editors

Living with a college roommate can be many things. Enjoyable, stressful, frustrating.

For junior nursing major David Klacik, disturbing might be the word to use.

“I walked into the room and found my roommate shaving his testicles,” he said.

According to, a Web site devoted to the development of college students, adjusting to the situation is key.

“Strangers thrown together from different worlds, you need to adjust to each other’s quirks, habits and schedules without driving each other crazy,” according to the site.

But no matter how hard a person can try to work out problems, sometimes two roommates are just hopelessly incompatible.

Junior nursing major Kris Nelson reflects on her bad experience with a roommate.

“She was a transfer student and she was very uncomfortable rooming with a freshman,” she said. “We went two weeks where she wouldn’t talk to me. She went out of her way to make everyone on the floor uncomfortable.”

Nelson gave up and changed roommates after two months. gives three ideas to keep in mind to uphold a livable relationship with a roommate: establish rules, compromise and communicate.

Ask questions such as, “Are you an early riser?” and establish rules based on a roommate’s preferences. Compromise is always important to creating an environment all parties can live with. And because most roommates are not mind-readers, communication is necessary, according to

“Try to discuss things,” Nelson said. “It’s all about respect. You probably won’t be best friends, but as long as you respect each other, that’s all that matters.”

Klacik deals with issues his own way.

“Try not to let things bother you,” he said. “I’m more of a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy, but if you have a problem just talk to your RA and see if you can change roommates.”

And even though tension can arise, there is such a thing as a roommate success story.

“The first roommate I had, I went in blind, and we’re best friends now,” Klacik said.

Contact news correspondent Ben Wolford at [email protected].