Roommates: Getting Off to a Good Start
September 2005

“Roommates: Getting Off to a Good Start,” Ensign, Sept. 2005, 70

Roommates: Getting Off to a Good Start

During the years I attended college, I had more than 20 roommates. As I look back on my best roommate experiences, I realize that a few consistent practices helped us get along well together. If you have roommates, you might find the following ideas helpful:

Roommate councils. Like family councils, roommate councils can help households run more smoothly. During my first year of college, my roommates and I set aside some time each week to calmly and openly discuss concerns. At first our meetings were lengthy because we all had much to contribute, but as we worked through our concerns, our meetings grew shorter. Soon we had a set of apartment rules and routines that we all agreed upon.

In the beginning, you might want to discuss the following with your roommates:

Household cleaning tasks. Discuss cleaning assignments and expectations. How will cleaning supplies be purchased?

Sharing spaces. Decide on shower and bathroom times. Also, if your kitchen cupboard or refrigerator space is tight, discuss how all can store their food. For instance, could a single can of soda be refrigerated instead of a full carton? Consider writing your initials on food items to avoid mistakenly eating each other’s food. Perhaps you could pool your food to share a meal on Sundays or other occasions.

In time, you may need to discuss rules or routines to deal with other problems as well: visitors, music, lights-out time, and so forth.

Spiritual growth. Other advice given to families can also help strengthen roommate relationships. If your roommate situation allows, consider praying, studying the scriptures, and having family home evening together. If you can’t do these things with your roommates, be sure to continue your own personal progress in these areas.

I still keep in touch with several of my roommates. I treasure their friendships. And my husband is grateful for all the things they did to help me prepare for marriage.

Kerry Griffin Smith, Lochsa Falls Ward, Meridian Idaho West Stake

Illustrated by Joe Flores