Counseling Center


  • Counseling Center
    Fax: 202-885-1397
    Mary Graydon, Room 214

    Mon and Thurs: 9am-6pm
    Tues, Wed, and Fri: 9am-5pm

    Summer hours: M-F 9am-5pm

    Closed Saturday and Sunday

Mailing Address

Special Topics - Roommate Relationships

Resource Page


If you have questions or concerns about your own unique situation, make an appointment
to talk with a counselor by calling the Counseling Center at (202) 885-3500.
You are also invited to come and browse the Student Self-Help Library

located in the reception area of the Counseling Center, MGC-214

Your roommate may be your best friend, or you may not be able to stand each other. Either way, many students find that living in close quarters with one or more roommates, being a good roommate, and interacting with one's fellow roommates in civil and respectful ways can be stressful and challenging. Common sources of roommate conflict include differences in lifestyle, culture, habits, preferences, values, and activities. The following resources are available to help you cope with the stresses and challenges of being a good roommate and living with your roommates.

Who can I consult with about how to handle a roommate situation?

It is generally important to resolve roommate issues as they come up, rather than neglect them or let them worsen. A private consultation with your Housing and Dining Services staff or a Counseling Center counselor (x3500) can help you sort through ways of dealing with a difficult roommate situation. You can seek out such a consultation on your own or along with your roommate.
What if I want someone to negotiate an agreement between me and my roommate?

Sometimes, it helps to go through a more formal mediation process with someone specially trained to guide you. To work with a negotiator, you can contact Housing and Dining Services or Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services.

How can my roommate and I work on our own to improve communication between us?

You might remember an exercise, called The Stranger in My Room, that is used on campus with new students. Even if you are now a veteran roommate, you might find the exercise helpful since it includes suggestions for improving communication -- an important key to good roommate relationships.

The office of Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services has a Roommate Agreement Guide and Roommate Agreement Form that you and your roommate can use to come up with mutual agreements about such key roommate issues as noise, cleanliness, guests, and belongings. The agreement Guide and Form are also available in paper copy from your RA. Conversations about roommate issues can be difficult, and you may find that the best way to reach an agreement is by asking for your RA, RD, or a mediator from JAMS to accompany you and your roommate through the process.

How can I support a roommate who is in distress?

If you are concerned that your roommate is in distress, engaging in behaviors that are harmful to himself/herself or others, or suffering from a traumatic experience, here are some guides that can help you recognize signs and causes of distress and be helpful to your roommate:
How to Help a Student in Distress
Coping with a Sudden Terrible Event
Helping a Student Get Help

Who can I talk with about illegal activities or breaches of the Student Conduct Code? If you feel your room situation endangers your health or well-being or that of others, or involves breaches of the law or the Student Conduct Code, you should contact your HDS Resident Director, Public Safety, or the Dean of Students to discuss or report the situation. This can be a very difficult decision -- you may have conflicting feelings about "telling" on another student, standing up for what you believe, risking retribution, protecting youself or others, being a good citizen of this community, etc. Whichever university representative you talk with will understand the difficulty of your situation and work with you to find the best resolution possible.
How can I learn more about an issue that has come up for me and my roommate (depression, interpersonal relationships, stress, religious cults, etc.)? Whether you are concerned for yourself or your roommate, you can explore the Counseling Center Self-Help site. This collection of on-line resources includes a wide range of topics including depression, alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, anxiety, medications, etc.  You may want to look first under the headings "Issues of College Life" and "Relationships." Additional self-help materials are available in the Counseling Center Self-Help Library, located in our reception area, MGC-214.
Resource Summary

Counseling Center
Housing and Dining Services
Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services
Public Safety
Dean of Students
Student Conduct Code
Counseling Center Self-Help and Web Links
Roommate Agreement Guide and Form
The Stranger in My Room
How to Help a Student in Distress
Coping with a Sudden Terrible Event
Helping a Student Get Help
Counseling Center Self-Help Library, MGC-214