Ten Steps That Make a Model Roommate

Courtesy of Lianna Johnstone
Courtesy of Lianna Johnstone

by Wyatt Barnes

Staff Reporter

As the year has progressed and we’ve become more accustomed to living here at Pitzer, I’ve begun to notice a trend among freshman: more and more people are starting to butt heads with their roommates. Now, these roomie problems can vary from being benign isolated issues to serious “I’m-going-to-move-out” deal-breakers. So, I thought I’d compile a short list of rules/guidelines to follow to make you and your roommate’s duration of living together the best it can be. By following this list (or mentioning it to a bad roommate), I only hope that the problems you are facing can be resolved.

  1. Always ask before taking/borrowing.

It’s pretty self explanatory. Set guidelines about what is shared. If something isn’t working out sharing-wise, tell your roommate so you can avoid an angry outburst about who is using too much of what. Always ask before taking; it is the considerate thing to do!

  1. Don’t bring people back to the room when your roommate is asleep.

If you were planning on bringing people back to your room and you notice your roommate is asleep, don’t tell them to quietly proceed into the room. Either find somewhere else to hang, or just put down a blanket in the bathroom and chill there—quietly though, since your roommate is trying to sleep. And if you do chill in the bathroom, do NOT forget to shut the door.

  1. It’s okay to be a little messy—but don’t be that person.

Everyone is a little messy, and most college dorm rooms are far from spotless. However, try to not let the mess affect your roommate. An example would be if you use a bowl for food, don’t leave it filled with water in the sink. Wash dishes in the common rooms to avoid a clogged sink (those suck), and make a chart about who cleans what when. Most importantly, clean up after yourself!

  1. Try to be as quiet as possible while your roommate is sleeping.

This not only goes for when you come back to your dorm drunk at three in the morning, but also if you have an early class and your roommate likes to sleep in. Just be quiet, don’t slam things around, use as little light as possible, and shut off your alarm as quickly as possible.

  1. If you are having lots of people over, tell your roommate beforehand. 

Now this isn’t always easy to do, since plans are often made last minute. But if you plan to have more than four or five people in your room for whatever reason, try your best to inform your roommate so they aren’t shocked by the number of people in the room.

  1. Set guidelines on what is allowed in the room, and what isn’t.

Is smoking okay? Drinking? Beer pong? Many of these things aren’t allowed in the freshman dorms, and although they are still done, your roommate may not feel comfortable with them for whatever reason. Just make sure you both agree on what is happening in your shared living space.

  1. Don’t be afraid to say no, or to disagree with your roommate.

For some people this rule is a no-brainer, but for others, disagreement or denial makes for an uncomfortable situation. For example, if your roommate asks to borrow an article of clothing and you don’t want to give it to them, don’t feel pressured to say yes. It is okay to say no, and most people will respect your wishes. Don’t be a pushover!

  1. If something new arises that needs to be addressed, address it.

If your roommate does something that they never have before, and it bothers you, tell them. They may not know that what they are doing is wrong, and keeping silent about the problem only solidifies to them that their behavior isn’t an issue. For example, if your roommate brings a significant other back to the room and starts making out with them while you are there, not thinking you would mind, tell them you do! That allows you to work towards a solution to the problem.

  1. Treat one another as equals.

No one person has more control over the room than the other. You both pay to live in on-campus housing, and you share the room. You both have an equal voice, and if there is a disagreement on an issue, ask your suite mates/RA/mentor for their opinions.

10. Be considerate and kind.

Living with someone is not always easy, especially for freshmen. Just be kind to your roommate, and treat them with respect. Would you like it if they used the microwave while you were sleeping? Would you like it if your roommate hooked up with someone in the room while you were trying to sleep? Do you like seeing your roommate’s dirty clothes in a pile on the floor, not in a hamper?


Follow these rules and I’m sure any living situation can be improved!

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