Living with a Roommate

Students in their room

How to Break the Ice & Get to Know Each Other

Living with a roommate will be an important part of your residential experience at Stanford. A good relationship with your roommate/s will help you feel at home, make it easier for you to focus on your studies, and add richness to your Stanford experience.

If you don’t know your roommate yet, remember that you have more in common than you first might think. You both had the talent and perseverance to get here. You both want to have a good experience at Stanford. And your new roommate has to get used to you, too.

When you first meet your new roommate, spend some time with each other talking about your families, neighborhood, funny things that happened to you, what you’ll miss being away from home, hobbies, your favorite movie, your plans at Stanford. As you share experiences, you’ll find it easier to understand each other.

The key to any successful living situation is open and honest communication—not just when you first meet, but also from day to day. As you learn to read each other’s feelings, you’ll find it easier to resolve the inevitable differences that surface when two or more people live together. You don’t need to be friends for life with your roommate/s, but showing consideration and fairness is crucial to building mutual respect.

Getting Along

  1. Communicate openly. If something bothers you, speak up (tactfully) before a minor complaint evolves into strained silence.
  2. Decide how you want to arrange the room or apartment.
  3. Negotiate ground rules:
  • Hours for quiet/study times
  • Who cleans what and how often
  • When guests are welcome, and for how long
  • Which personal property (TV, stereo, Wii, refrigerator, clothing, recreational items) is off limits and which can be shared
  • How to handle potential issues, such as Can you sleep with the lights on? Window open? Music blaring?
  1. Remember that everyone has good and bad days; don’t take it personally if your roommate is in a bad mood.
  2. Show tolerance. Stanford is culturally diverse, and you will meet others with widely-differing values and perspectives. Use this opportunity to learn from your roommate/s, and to share your own thoughts and experiences.
  3. Address problems right away; don’t let them build.
  4. Show appreciation every now and then.