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The Roommate Commandments. How to Avoid, Handle, and Solve Conflict. By Shawna Strickland and Jordan Weimar. I. Thou Shalt Speak. Communication is the basis for any relationship.

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The Roommate Commandments

How to Avoid, Handle, and Solve Conflict


Shawna Strickland and Jordan Weimar

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I. Thou Shalt Speak

  • Communication is the basis for any relationship.

  • Keep it positive by talking to your roomie before things get unbearable. You’ll be surprised how much better it will go!

  • If you feel like you need help starting the conversation, see your RA.

  • Don’t forget to talk anything and everything, not just when there might be a problem. Roomies are friends, too!

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II. Thou Shalt Be Understanding

  • Realize that you’re both sharing a very small space.

  • If your roomie comes to you about something, try to see it from their point of view as well.

  • Compromise is necessary from both sides. You’ll need to give some thought to what you can improve, too.

  • Try to give all situations a win-win outcome.

  • Remember, you’re in this together!

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III. Thou Shalt R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  • Remember those contracts you wrote at the beginning of the year? Take a moment to revisit those or create a new one.

  • Respect your roomie’s boundaries, both within the room and in lifestyle.

  • You’ll both make new friends, and remember to respect your roomie’s new pals, too.

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IV. Thou Shalt Sleep

  • If you’re an early bird, considering leaving a small light on at night and being understanding of a late sleeper in the morning.

  • If you’re a night owl, come back when you’re ready to settle in for the night. Avoid bringing fellow night owls over after roomie’s bedtime.

  • For both, try to avoid hitting “Snooze” too often.

  • Remember to turn your alarm off on the weekends, too.

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V. Thou Shalt be True to Thyself

  • No one likes a faker. After all, who likes Paris Hilton?

  • Be yourself no matter what. It will make addressing the issues easier in the end.

  • Learn to appreciate the differences in your personalities. Opposites attract, right?

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VI. Thou Shalt Ask

  • Every roomie has some awesome stuff, but remember to ask before touching.

  • It’s important to actually abide by equitable division of goodies if you’re splitting the expense.

  • Before wearing your roomie’s favorite shirt to a hot and sweaty club, think how you’d feel if you didn’t get it back for weeks.

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VII. Thou Shalt Not Sex

  • Okay, so we’re not talking abstinence, just boundaries.

  • If roomie is present, tone down the PDA.

  • Avoid sexiling your roommate. No one likes to be in the lobby alone at two in the morning.

  • Define what is ok in terms of overnight visitors, and respect those terms.

  • Split up the fun between your room and your significant other’s place, too.

  • Practice safe sex, but dispose of the evidence.

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VIII. Thou Shalt Take Out the Trash

  • Devise a plan to switch trash duties, then stick to it.

  • Don’t let one person get stuck with the dirty deed, whether it’s taking out the trash and recycling or vacuuming the room, etc.

  • If you need to clear space in the bathroom for the custodian, remember to take care of your own stuff.

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IX. Thou Shalt be Clean

  • When a room smells more like a dumpster than a living area, it’s a bad sign.

  • Try to avoid dirty clothes everywhere. Nothing is less exciting than stepping on dirty underwear.

  • If you want to be messy, try to keep it on your side of the room.

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X. Thou Shalt Uphold the Platinum Rule

  • Do unto others as they want done unto them.

  • Know that everyone does things differently, from handling conflict to eating their cereal.

  • Respecting these differences and treating your roomie as they want to be treated will set you both up for a positive experience.

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Meet the Creators!

  • Thank you for using this bulletin board! Jordan and I both hope that you will find it helpful and useful on your floor. Please let us know if you do post the board; it’s always nice to hear about its success!

  • Shawna: [email protected]

  • Jordan and I are both second year RAs in Parmelee Hall at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. (Fall 2008)

At RA training, summer 2008. 80s workout theme day!