Don’t Hate the Mate!

Matt is a good roommate:  Yes/No (circle one)

Matt is a good roommate: Yes/No (circle one)


Back in January, I posted some Quick Tips for Roommate Survival, hoping first-year college students would be heading back to school after one semester of roommate living and possibly looking for smoother sailing.  Well, in the spirit of preemptive and preventative measures, this post is for graduating high school seniors as they begin to meet their roommates for the very first time.

It’s an excerpt from an appendix in my book called “Don’t Hate the Mate,” and it provides some discussion prompts for soon-to-be college roommates.

Feel free to share with those who might care….

‘Don’t Hate the Mate’ Share Sheet

(For sharing with prospective roommates)

In our ‘Don’t Hate the Mate’ chapter, we talked about how good communication is key to roommate relationships, and how that communication can begin BEFORE meeting in person in the fall.  Knowing that you can’t possibly predict your exact sleep schedule and social behaviors once you actually begin your ‘dorm living,’ the questions below will help you prevent some of the issues that could fester and grow.

Feel free to share this with your new roommate via social media, and maybe even do the exercise together.  It’s either going to help you start bonding right away, or scare the s*** out of you!

1. What smells bug you?  (Body odor?  Potpourri?   Are you a fresh air freak where you’d rather have the window open in the winter time and wear a sweater than smell that thick, musty indoor air?)

2. What sounds bug you?  (Screamo music?  Only hearing one side of a phone conversation?  Snoring?  Alarm clock sounds vs. music to wake you?)

3. What sights bug you?  (Messy spaces?  Open curtains?  Sunlight in the morning?  Black-light posters?  Cat posters?   The color yellow?  Old tennis shoes?  Anything other than complete darkness when you sleep?)

4.  What’s your greatest fear or concern about your prospective roommate(s)?  (He’s a Taylor Swift fan?  She will bring boys into our room for ‘extra-curricular activities?  He will play video games all day and never talk to me?  She won’t like it WHEN I borrow her clothes?)

5.  What are you like when you’re at your worst? (When upset, do you shut down? Do you rage for five minutes and then want to be buds again? Are you a little passive aggressive? Does it help if someone brings you ice cream?)


NOTE:  If you have trouble coming up with answers to these questions, you are going to be an incredibly tolerant roommate, and anyone would be glad to share space with you.

Answer the questions honestly and share your responses with your prospective roommate(s).  If Taylor Swift or black-light posters or borrowing clothes will be a deal-breaker, it is absolutely best to figure that out sooner rather than later.  In fact, having reflected on these things that bug you, maybe this is a good time to consider if they REALLY are deal-breakers, or if, with a little bit of effort, they could fall within your expanded level of tolerance.  If you think you could tolerate them, imagine doing so EVERY day for the ENTIRE school year.  That should be a good indicator.

 Again, know thyself.


(If you find the roommate note in the above photo entertaining or scary or both, feel free to check out more here.)