Integrating A New Roommate Mid-Year

By Ashley Paskill on March 7, 2022

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Whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, you may have to face the challenge of integrating a new roommate into your living situation halfway through the school year. It may be challenging for you, but it is equally, if not more, challenging for the new roommate. The new roommate didn’t get a chance to choose their roommate(s) like you did. However, there are things you can do to make the situation a bit easier for both parties.

Incorporate their décor style

When a new roommate moves in, they may have their own décor style. Since they are coming in after you have already decorated, they may be saddened to not have décor they like. However, you want the space to feel like home for them as well, so consider redecorating to incorporate things they like into your décor, especially in communal places. This will give them a sense of comfort and belonging in the space, which is what home should feel like. Find out what they like ahead of time and see if they have any items they would like to incorporate and find a way to make it work.

Get to know them

Building a relationship with your new roommate is important for making them feel included. Plan activities to get to know them better and spend time with them. Consider exploring your college town off-campus or even going on a weekend excursion. Plan game nights or movie nights each week to make an effort to get to know each other better. Building a relationship and becoming friends, or at least civil, will help make the living situation better for the two of you. While you are not expected to be the best of friends, having a relationship where you can be civil at a minimum will make the living arrangement livable.

Image: Cliff Booth via

Share the space

Although you have been in the apartment or dorm longer, the new roommate is now calling the space home as well. You may be tempted to be territorial, especially in the beginning, but allowing the new roommate space to get comfortable will allow them space to adjust and become closer friends with you and other roommates you live with. The new roommate has every right to act like the space is theirs too, because it is, and allowing them to claim this space will help them become more relaxed and at home.

Communicate effectively

With any relationship, it is important to communicate. However, it is especially important to communicate when integrating a new roommate into your living space. Be open with how you are feeling, and be willing to listen to their feelings and concerns. When the roommate first comes in, have a meeting to let them know of any rules and expectations that are required for the living space. You cannot expect them to know about certain procedures if you do not tell them. It is important to let them know of consequences before they happen to avoid conflict.

Set boundaries

While it is important to get to know your new roommate, it is still important to have clear boundaries. You are not required to be best friends with your roommate, and it is important to set boundaries as such. Establish rules at the beginning of your relationship so that you know what to expect with chores and food purchases. Have expectations for inviting other friends over and throwing parties. Having boundaries will save you headaches down the line.

Have a roommate agreement

When you first meet your new roommate, sit down with them and have a meeting to discuss a roommate agreement. Since you had roommates before, you know what you want and what to adjust in your current agreement. Send your roommate the roommate agreement ahead of time so they can look at it make and make adjustments they see fit. Compromise until you come to an agreement that you both can agree to and have everyone in the dorm room or apartment sign it.

Have a conflict resolution plan

As with any relationship, conflict is likely to arise at some point with your new roommate, especially since they are coming into an already-established rooming situation. No matter how well you get along, conflicts are bound to arise. Having a conflict resolution plan in place before things come up can help you so you are not acting impulsively and under intense emotions. Have a list of people who are not living in the dorm or apartment who can step in and help when things get tough. Your plan may even include stepping away from each other for a few hours to calm down and reconvening when things are less heated.

Integrating a new roommate into your living situation in the middle of the year is a tough situation for both parties, but finding a middle ground and building from there can lead to a civil living situation and even an unexpected friendship.

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