Set some ground rules to avoid roommate drama

By Brooke Eberle, Special Sections Editor

Learning to live with somebody else is not easy for everyone, especially if you have to share the space of a small dorm room. Even the best of friends can find themselves running into communication issues. However, many of these issues can be prevented by having a discussion beforehand about what is acceptable when it comes to your room. Try to sit down with your roommates at the beginning of the semester to go over a few ground rules.

Quiet hours

This is one of the first things that should come up in the roommate discussion. Is your roommate a morning person or a night owl? If you’re not a morning person, will you be upset if your roommate’s alarm wakes you up in the morning? If you’re not a night owl, will you be frustrated if your roommate stays up studying until 2 a.m.?

These are problems a lot of new roommates have at the beginning of the semester and can lead to some pretty heated arguments. This is something that should have been discussed beforehand. Save yourself the energy and avoid this issue all together if you can.


It is also important to set ground rules regarding guests. How many guests can visit at once, and how often? How long of a heads up needs to be given in advance? Surely five minutes is not enough. In your discussion, come to an agreement of how far in advance the other needs to know if somebody else is coming over. This will keep from any confusing or frustrating situations in the future.

Shared items

Personally, I would not be happy if I found out one of my roommates was snacking on my food without permission. The same goes for if somebody borrowed my clothing or towels. Different people have different expectations of what can be lent out. Discuss with your roommate which particular items you would like to keep to yourself, which need special permission and which you are comfortable being used without asking first.

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Maintenance and cleaning

You and your roommate may have different definitions of what is considered clean. Does your roommate want to sweep and mop every week? Or do they feel that dirty clothing on the floor is not a problem? Having a quick chat about what the expected standards are will keep your dorm room or apartment much tidier — and hopefully better smelling! If you have time, consider pitching in every now and then to make sure your roommate’s side is being cleaned. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

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