4 Strategies for Setting Boundaries with Your Roommate


Making the adjustment to living with a roommate can be a new experience for many students. Even if you turn out to be great friends, you’ll likely have different ideas about how you expect to share your living space. To avoid stepping on each other’s toes, it’s important to set boundaries. Here are some strategies to try.

1. Avoid Doing Too Much Together

When you start university, your roommate may be the only person you know. You may like to go to events on campus together just to avoid going alone. However, as you start meeting new people — in classes, at clubs, and just around campus — it’s important to spend less time with your roommate and have your own hobbies and friends, too. Otherwise, you may end up struggling to make a wider circle of friends.

2. Decide on Rules for Guests

Discuss how comfortable you are having guests over to the apartment, including significant others. You may decide to set a limit to the number of guests and only have visitors on certain days at certain times. This will ensure the apartment is quiet enough for you to study during the rest of the week. You should also consider other implications of frequent visitors — for instance, they may use shared food and supplies and you’ll likely need to clean the apartment after any large gatherings.

Since you and your roommate may have quite different ideas about guests, you’ll need to be willing to compromise. The important thing is to arrive at a set of rules you can both agree on.

3. Talk If You’re Unhappy About Something

No roommate will ever be perfect — that’s something you’ll just have to accept. However, if your roommate is crossing boundaries, you need to address the issue as soon as possible. Expecting your roommate to just know you’re annoyed is unlikely to change anything and will only lead to resentment. For example, if your roommate is breaking any rules you set together, not doing a fair share of the chores, or being too loud when you’re trying to sleep, talk about it and figure out how you can come to some sort of resolution.

4. Own Up to Your Mistakes

It’s just as likely you’ll annoy your roommate as it is that your roommate will annoy you. When you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and commit to doing better next time. Being mature will develop trust and mean your roommate is much more likely to yield to your requests.

You can avoid many problems with roommates by having your own bedroom. As this is rarely an option on campus, you’ll need to search for an independent apartment. Foundry Lofts offers Brock off-campus living for students who want to experience having roommates without the discomfort of sharing all their personal space. Our apartments have four or five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and large communal living areas. You’ll also be able to meet more students in the games room, movie theatre, fireside lounge, and fitness centre. Apply now to secure a lease.

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