How to have and initiate difficult conversations with your roommate

New students to campus may be having trouble communicating with their roommate, so here are some ways to solve it.


Cal U Communications

Johnson Hall, California University of Pennsylvania

Mia Martinez, Staff Writer

As students at California University of Pennsylvania are settling into the flow of classes and the college lifestyle, there can be difficulties in communicating with people, but especially your roommate. People have all been isolated in their rooms and houses quarantining. This may have caused self-isolation, which can result in the difficulty in communicating with people. With these difficulties comes remembering how to solve conflicts.  

 Gloria Minutello, director of facilities presentation,  is also a graduate student in conflict and resolution at Cal U and works closely with University Housing.  She offers practical suggestions on how to initiate a conversation with your roommate and resolve potential conflicts.

“The first thing I would say is, get to know your roommate on a different level. Some people come into college being really good friends from back home, but if you don’t know someone ask them questions just about their background, what they enjoy doing”  said Minutello.  

You can try to connect with your roommate about things like what they like to do for fun, or any hobbies they enjoy. Ask questions about their hometown and this can lead to them to warm up to you and can lead to a better connection. So I am asking students to have those conversations of “what does respect mean to you.” This could range from a simple question as what pronouns do you prefer? What is your preferred name?  

“This indicates showing a level of respect that will hopefully build respect between your roommate and have that line of respect then it’s easier to ask questions.” said Minutello. 

Having those mature and respectful conversations with a roommate is important not only to help you resolve your personal conflict but also for future conflicts. The older we get and the more we experience the harder conversations we will eventually have to have. 

“We did some conflict training, but we did the conflict style assessment with the students. That is a type of thing that could help with roommates to see how both of you look at conflict and how to resolve it,” said Minutello.