I am going to complete my freshman year of college this spring and I have run into a small problem. My roommate (let's call him "Jim") seems to not like the college and in all probability is going to leave at the end of the year. Even if Jim doesn't leave the college, he has given me ample signals that he will change rooms and live with another of our friends (who is, by the way, a very old friend of Jim). I don't have a problem with that and respect his decision very much.

However, that has landed me in a sticky situation. All this means that I will not have a roommate at the end of the year. I obviously need one. I don't have a particular preference as to who my roommate should be but if I can convince one of my friends to be one, it would be great. My question is, "How do I ask someone to be my roommate without sounding very dominating?"

To not make this too broad, I have already talked with Jim's friend's roommate and I am not sure I prefer him being my roommate for a year. So, I am looking for someone else. The costs and other things are not an issue since we live in halls of residence and all things are paid for before the beginning of the year. My main issue is that if I approach someone (say "Bob") to be my roommate, how do I talk to him about it? I am a bit afraid that Bob's current roommate might take offence to that and we could get our relations strained and I don't want that happening.

  • 6
    "I obviously need one." Why?
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 0:34
  • 4
    Not IPS or an actual answer to your question so I will just post as comment: My Uni (college) had tons of facebook groups, noticeboards and other groups/places where you could put up an "add" for a room/roommate request making it very common and very easy to find other Uni students who are looking for a room to fill whatever spot you need. These would get enough responses that you could "interview" the offers and choose whoever you would most get along with, or one of your friends may see it and ask to join.
    – Jesse
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 2:22
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    @Mast It's better I feel if I live with a roommate. A year in college has taught me that so far.
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 14:24
  • "I have already talked with Jim's friend's roommate and I am not sure I prefer him being my roommate for a year." Did you make that crystal clear to him? If not, do so, for he needs to search for a roommate as well. Yes, it's very uncomfortable, but it'll be much worse if he spends months thinking you're all set. As simple as "Hey, you're a nice guy, but I don't think we'd be a good match as roommates, so I'm searching for someone else." Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 20:09
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    @EmilioMBumachar I already have. They did say they can help in the search but in the end I have to do the talking, right?
    – Sid
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


If you are afraid that people could become upset because you asked "their" roommates to leave, you could phrase it more as a question for help than a question specifically for that person to join you.

I would just talk to as many people as possible and say something like:

You know, I need a roommate for the next year, as Jim is going to leave in order to.... (you can even leave out the Jim part- it is not necessarily needed). Do you possibly know somebody looking for a new room next year?

If that person is interested, he can tell you. If not you cannot be accused of "taking away" somebody, as you didn't ask directly.

The more people are around when you ask, the bigger the chance is, that somebody knows somebody who knows somebody who... you get the point.

  • The best roommate situation I ever had in college started out with this approach.
    – yshavit
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 20:24

Tell Bob the situation with you and your current roommate Jim. Then simply ask if he is planning on staying with his roommate next year or if he would like to room with you. You don't need to hint or ask around the question, simply ask.

I get the sense that you and Bob and his roommate are all friends, since you care so much about upsetting Bob's roommate. If you would rather, bring up the question in front of both of them. Explain that you are without a roommate next year and ask if they are planning to keep living together or not.

I know it may not feel like it, since you are only a freshman in college, but you and Jim and Bob are all adults now and, as such, are responsible for your own decisions. If Bob would rather room with you than with his current roommate, that is his own decision, you aren't 'taking him away' from his friend.

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