Next year I will be living with 3 other people in a 2-person paired dormitory on our university campus. Two I have known since high school, but the third is my current roommate, lets call him Ralph, who I get along well with.

Lastly, I have one more friend from high school who was planning to live with people he knew, but they backed out on him and if things stay the same he will be matched with a random roommate. He now wishes to take the place of Ralph so it would just be my 3 high school friends and I.

While I do believe it is very inconsiderate to ask a future roommate to leave, there are several conditions I believe make this permissible. Firstly, Ralph made friends with others on campus, and he considered living with them until deciding to join us (his would be space is occupied by a random person). This decision was probably tied into his wish to take his academics seriously, somewhat unlike his other friend group. He also does not know 2 his other friends (not mine) he could took with well, but would likely only share a bathroom with them instead of a sleeping space he would share with the friend he knows. Also, he stated while my high school friends and I were looking for apartments that if we chose one over a dormitory he would simply room with his friends as he didn't want his priority of saving money to influence our decision. He has remarked that while he will live with us, he will spend the majority of his time with his friends in their dorm, which is housed in the same building as ours.

Compounded onto this, my friends from high school, while friends with Ralph, have made clear that they do not want to room with him.

My high school friends now want me to ask Ralph to change his room assignments from us to his other friends. I want to emphasize that it is his choice, and he should not feel pressured. I definitely don't want to state a reason I am asking him to leave is because my friends do not want to room with him and I also do not want to guilt him into leaving because my high school friend has to room with random people.

How should my conversation with him go? What points should I bring up?

  • 1
    I'm confused about who's who. Is it the current roommate that you want to ask to leave? Doesn't have equal rights to the room as you? Feb 4, 2018 at 22:16
  • @MonicaCellio Yes, it is my current roommate I want to ask leave. He does have equal rights.
    – user109474
    Feb 5, 2018 at 0:20
  • "He also does not know 2 of his future roommates well, but would likely only share a bathroom with them instead of a sleeping space he would share with the friend he knows" - here, are you talking about yourself, or his other friends?
    – Jesse
    Feb 5, 2018 at 2:02
  • His other friends. I'm sorry for the confusion on who is who throughout the post, I will edit it.
    – user109474
    Feb 5, 2018 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


You and Ralph currently share a room and (per your comment) have equal standing in it. Neither of you can kick the other out of the room. So don't talk about the room itself.

Rather, each of you is trying to form a group of roommates for next year. Until now your plan has been to both be part of the same group. He's given you some hints that if you decide to go off and do something else, he can handle it.

Given all that, I would approach him with something like the following:

Ralph, it turns out that three of my high-school friends will be here next year and we'd all like to room together. I know you and I talked about rooming together next year, but I'd rather join my other friends.

Key points:

  • This is a new development ("it turns out that..."). You didn't know about this when you and Ralph started talking.

  • You're not staking a claim to the current room. You and your friends might get a different suite or Ralph might leave this one; you're not saying anything about that yet.

  • You acknowledge that this is a change from your prior conversation. If you want to soften it, you could add "I'm sorry" in here.

I am assuming from the way you've written your question that Ralph has time to make other arrangements; you're not saying this on the night before the registration deadline.

If Ralph responds with something about how he thought you and he were better friends, you can respond that this isn't about friendship and you'd still like to keep doing whatever things you currently do together (gaming, movies, whatever).

After you get past the "who's rooming with whom" part, you and Ralph will need to talk about the current room. (I'm assuming that current occupants have priority and that rooms aren't all just randomly reassigned each year.) If he doesn't care then no problem; if he cares strongly about keeping the current room, then you'll have to decide how much you care. You're the person changing agreed-upon plans, so it would be gracious of you to be the one who moves out. If you feel too strongly about it to do that, then you'll need to flip a coin or come up with some other means to decide.

Basis for this answer: I lived in a quad for four years in college with several changes of roommates. I didn't have your exact situation, but I was part of negotiations over rooms and groupings each year after the first.

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