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Housemate Guide - Office of Campus Life

A Guide for Successful Housemate Relationships

The key to a good relationship is communication. This is apparent when living off-campus. Whether this is the first time living off-campus or the first time with new housemates, it is always important to set clear expectations right from the start. Here are a few suggestions:

Sharing Items
Do you mind lending items to housemates, such as clothes, books, money, class notes, and food?
What items are all right to share -TV? Microwave? Computer?

Cleaning Up
How important is a clean house to you? Is this different from the ideas of your housemates?
How will responsibilities be assigned? For example, who will clean the bathroom? Vacuum the living room? Take out the trash?
Who will buy cleaning supplies?

When do you like to go to sleep?
Are you a morning or night person?
How do the previous two questions differ from your housemates?

How will housemates deal with problems stemming from a guest or guests?
How will the housemates address the issue of overnight guests of the opposite sex? Same sex?
How do you feel about gatherings?

Study Habits
When do you like to study?
Are you able to study with noise? How much noise? What about your housemates?

How often do you consume alcohol?
How often do your housemates consume alcohol?
How does your response differ from your housemate?

Emotional Style
How do you act when you are upset?
Do you tend to say things you are thinking, or do you keep it all inside?
Are you an introvert or extravert?
Are there times you prefer to be alone?
How do you know if people are mad?
What annoys you?
What are you like when you are under pressure?
What are some specific things that bother you?

Will housemates buy goods together? For example, food, dishes, bathroom items, cleaning supplies, etc.
If a housemate leaves, how will goods and costs be split up?

Rules for a Good Discussion

Problems do arise between housemates. Here are some tips to help you confront problems and deal with issues in your house.

Focus on the behavior-not your housemate.
"Own" your feelings-you choose to feel and act a certain way.
Listen to all perspectives. Let your housemates speak without interruption, and actively listen to their requests.
Make sure you understand everything that is being said; assume nothing.
Remember that this is not a win/lose situation. The goal is to find some kind of compromise for all to live with. Be as objective and rational as possible.
If emotions are running high, take a break and resume discussion later.
Try to get at the heart of the problem right away. Don't waste time on details of little concern.
Try to remain calm.

Page modified 12/7/15