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 - The Stranger in My Room

Resource Page

The Stranger in My Room: Getting to Know Your Roommate



1. What's your name?
2. Where are you from? What's your family like?
3. What were some of your favorite activities last year?
4. What are you most excited about as you start at AU?
5. What are you most anxious about as you start at AU?
6. Tell me about a precious possession that you plan to bring with you from home.


1. If one roommate wants to sleep or study, that takes precedence over socializing in the room.




It will be difficult for me if my roommate doesn't share my religious and political views.


3. I am a social person who likes to have a lot of people around.


4. I am more of a slob than a neat-freak.


5. I expect my roommate to clear out when I have a boyfriend/girlfriend over.



6. It's fine with me if my roommate borrows my things (clothes, CDs, food). We'll be

living so close it doesn't make sense to be territorial about things.

7. It would bother me if had to deal with my roommate being drunk or high.


8. I want my roommate to tell me if something I have done or said bothers him/her.


9 I tend to be more extroverted than introverted.


10. If my roommate does or says something that bothers me, I am not likely to tell them.


11. I'm willing to leave the room if my roommate needs to study or sleep.


12. It bothers me when people use profanity or speak rudely about other people.


13. I am a night person - I like to be up late.


14. I can't sleep with the lights on or music going.




1. When I am angry or bothered by something I usually…

2. The toughest adjustment I'll have to make to college is …

3. My favorite things to do for fun are …

4. The activities that should have priority in our room are…

5. If I my roommate brought drugs or alcohol to our room I would …

6. I'll be really upset if my roommate …

7. I think the most important qualities in a roommate are…


· Remember that roommates don't have to be best friends. It's great if you like each other or have common interests. But one of the most rewarding experiences while in college is getting to know many different kinds of people and learning to tolerate/celebrate differences.

· Remember that roommates are individuals with likes and dislikes, priorities and peeves, just like you. To be a respectful roommate to your roommate, don't crowd them out of the room with your friends, or drive them mad by typing all night, or devote yourself to changing their minds about political or social issues (or musical tastes).

· Although most people feel good about sharing their stuff with others, it is possible to take unfair advantage of someone's generosity. So don't make assumptions about using your roommates belongings. Be sure that you have an explicit agreement in place about the use of one another's stuff, and check in with each other every month or so to see if your agreement needs some revision. What's okay the first month of the semester may not still be okay the third month.

· When something that your roommate is doing bothers you, be direct and respectful in bringing it up, and bring it up sooner rather than later. Try to phrase your concern in terms of specific behaviors that your roommate can work to change ("Listen, there's something I have been meaning to mention. When you get up early and I'm still sleeping, it wakes me up when you turn on the overhead light, and I wonder if you would you mind using your bedside light instead.") rather than phrasing your concern in terms of character traits or personal qualities ("You are an inconsiderate jerk! You are the most selfish person I have ever met!")

· Sometimes it's best to bring up a concern right at the moment that it's bothering you. This way you can address it immediately rather than letting it continue to annoy you and grow into a bigger and bigger problem. Sometimes, however, if your concerns are serious ones or ones that you and your roommate are likely to have strong feelings about, it's best to bring them up at a time and place that will allow you to address them fully. Ask your roommate for a "roommate check-in" date over coffee or ice-cream. If you are worried that your roommate will think you're rude or pushy or that you will hurt your roommate's feelings, you should consult with an RA or a Psychological Services counselor about how to bring up your concerns in an effective and respectful way.

· If your roommate complains to you that something you do bothers them, don't dismiss it --you have a positive responsibility to try to resolve the situation reasonably. Living with another person involves adjusting to one another's needs and preferences. If you feel you and your roommate are at an impasse, seek out a consultation. Your Residential Life and Housing staff, the counselors at the Counseling Center, and the mediators at Judicial Affairs & Mediation Services can help you try to resolve your impasse.


Housing and Dining Services (HDS)
Housing and DIning Services has student and professional staff available to help you with any roommate issues. The Resident Assistant (RA) on your floor is the best place to start, but there is also an RA on duty 24 hours a day who is accessible through the front desk. In addition, the Resident Director (RD) of your building is also available to assist you. The RD can also be reached through the front desk.

Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services (JAMS)
Judicial Affairs and Mediation Services provides voluntary confidential assistance to students (as well as to staff and faculty) in resolving interpersonal conflicts. To schedule an appointment, contact the Mediation Services office at x1313 or by e-mail at

Counseling Center
The Counseling Center provides confidential consultation to students with regard to any aspect of their life at college, including roommate concerns. To make an appointment with a counselor, call x3500.

How To Help A Student in Distress
Helping Someone Get Help
Roommate Resource Page
Worried About Someone?