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Building Relationships

Boy Roommates - Apr 2021

Whether you are a new freshman or a seasoned upperclassman, developing and maintaining roommate relationships can be a challenge. Everyone has his/her own roommate expectations, and it is not uncommon to feel a mix of emotions as you try to build positive connections in your apartment. We encourage you to connect with your roommates. Here are five steps to help you.

Get to Know One Another

Common Ground

When you know more than a name, you can build common ground. Finding common ground is critical to creating and building any relationship, especially with roommates. Watch to see how complete strangers found common ground in a ball pit.

Consider the following questions when you meet a new roommate:
  1. Tell me about your family and where you were raised.
  2. What are you studying at BYU-Idaho and what led you to choose that major?
  3. Tell me about your hobbies or favorite activities.
  4. What have you liked and/or disliked about past roommates or apartments?
  5. What are your hopes for this apartment?

Be the Roommate You Want for Yourself

Great relationships can be formed even among roommates with diverse backgrounds, personalities, and interests. Consider this clip from a BYU-Idaho Devotional about the practical work of building Zion in your apartment or home.

Build and Maintain Zion in my Apartment

Consider the following questions:
  • What can I do now to build Zion in my apartment?
  • How can my roommates and I live in a way that leads us to and places us in Zion?
  • How can I be the kind of roommate I want for myself? 

Invite and Include

Being encouraging and friendly is an easy way to be a great roommate. Sometimes a simple invitation sparks lasting friendships. These invitations can be simple – like inviting someone in your apartment to go shopping with you, go on a run or a walk, or attend a ward or campus activity. Can you sense the power of invitation in the following video?

Reaching Out

Kind persistence and openness will eventually bring together even the most distant or disinterested roommates. Most people desire strong relationships with others and peaceful living situations. Don’t let initial resistance discourage you – keep inviting.

Beware of social media isolation. Social media can be a wonderful way to keep in touch with those far away, but it cannot replace direct interactions. Over-relying on it to stay in touch with friends and family at home can leave you feeling distant from those around you.

Choose to Create a Happy Apartment

There are so many options when it comes to choosing an apartment, but no matter where you live you can have an amazing experience with roommates and neighbors. How you live will have a greater influence on your happiness than anything else. Truly, it’s not where you live but how!

Below are some simple dos and don’ts that will help you make your apartment a place that you and your roommates enjoy and want to spend time in.

Create A Happy Apartment.png
  • Practice kindness, patience, and humility.
  • Serve your roommates.
  • Be quick to forgive when roommates make a mistake.
  • Acknowledge when you are wrong. Then, give your best effort to make things right.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Treat roommates the way you want to be treated.
  • Be aggressive or passive-aggressive.
  • Lie to or deceive roommates for any reason.
  • Talk about roommates behind their backs.
  • Think only of yourself.
  • Make excuses for your actions.
  • Dismiss the concerns of your roommates.
  • Be hypocritical.

Here is an example of something you can do for a roommate that will contribute to a happy apartment and engender feelings of love and respect.

Small and Simple Things

Spend Time Together

You are attending BYU-Idaho to get a degree, but your roommates play a significant role in your life at college. Though you are all busy, make time to be together. This will not only bring enjoyment and harmony to your apartment now but can also lead to lasting (maybe even life-long) friendships.

In the video below, make note of how the roommates interact with one another. What things are they doing to build relationships? How would you feel living in or visiting this apartment? What things can you do to influence your own apartment in a positive way?

A Student Living Apartment

The more time you spend together the better you will know and understand one another. At the very least, you will open lines of communication to set boundaries, establish goals, and resolve conflict in a positive and healthy way.

A few simple ideas of things you can do together include:
- Grocery shopping
- Ride or walk to church and sit as an apartment
- Apartment dinner 
- Attend Home Evening
- Hold an apartment movie night
- Plan a group date
- Exercise or work out
- Clean the apartment
- Participate in campus activities
- Attend a community event or activity