Strategies for Success

LIVING OFF-CAMPUS
Strategies for Success


Communicating with Your Roommate(s)

Living with someone can be difficult, especially if you’ve never had to share living space before. However, effective communication with your roommate(s) can help you avoid unnecessary conflicts or help you resolve those that do arise in a mature manner that suits everyone involved.

To make your messages more clear, use “I” language instead of “you” language. “I” language can help in the following ways:
  • Takes “blames” out of the statement and will help prevent the receiver from becoming defensive
  • Allows the sender to express their feelings and thoughts
  • Allows the sender to get to the root of the problem for them
  • Are more thoughtful statement and helps sender to weigh their remarks more cautiously
WHEN YOU’D SAY:  TRY THIS INSTEAD:
I can’t I can
You are wrong My understanding
I don’t I do
You have to It would help if you
I never Today
You don’t understand Let me clarify
You can’t You can
I don’t know I’ll find out
I have no idea I know who can help

Beware of Demands:

Have you ever felt like you would be blamed or punished if you did not do what was being asked of you? If so, then you know how it feels to have someone demand something from you. Demands also tend to come with criticisms and judgment.

People shut down when they hear things like this: Find out what they need by asking:
You should know better Can you tell me about…
The house is supposed to be clean at all times What do you think about…
I deserve to have my girl/boyfriend over any time I want What is your opinion or…
I have the right to do whatever I want What do you know about…


You can steer clear of making this mistake yourself by empathizing when your request is turned down. When we use demanding language, people will either submit or rebel. Either way, the chance of working together to meet everyone’s needs is diminished.