Roomie Relationships

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How to coexist with four students you’ll meet in college

Dave Clark    College Times

High school graduates attend college to learn skills that will better position them for success in the workforce. The most important lessons the college experience delivers, however, is learning how to live and coexist with others.

Sharing a small dorm with very different personalities can be a life-changing experience.

Let’s chat about the behavior model DISC, which illustrates potential dorm room situations and struggles roommates may have. DISC is made up of four distinct behavioral factors: dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance.

Dave, the D

Dave is the dominant. He is very results-oriented and direct with his communication. He is quick to take on a problem or challenge and is more focused on the outcome than the process. He might lose interest if the task does not give him the results he wants.

Isabella, the I

Isabella is the influencer. She loves people and is energized in the presence of others. She’s all about making connections, and may occasionally skip a class if there’s a good party to attend. A social butterfly, Isabella can easily become distracted from the task at hand.

Sam, the S

Steady Sam likes stability. He doesn’t get too excitable and likes to maintain the status quo. Patient, loyal and reliable, he generally likes to be around people, as long as he is not put on the spot to make any impromptu decisions.

Cherie, the C

Cherie takes her time to get things right. She’s a bit of a perfectionist with her compliance behavioral preference. She’s a direct communicator who likes facts and details so she can be as accurate as possible.

Where they will connect

Dave and Cherie, both possessing direct communication styles, will get straight to the point in their communication. Cherie is detail-oriented and complements Dave’s fast pace and tendency to overlook minor details. Sam’s relaxed behavior will help him get along with all the roommates. His ability to outwardly accept other behavioral styles gives Sam an advantage when it comes to relating to others. Isabella will be welcoming and strive to connect with her roommates as quickly as possible.

Where they will clash

Keeping the apartment organized may be difficult for Isabella and Cherie. Cherie likes things just so, while order and organization are not Isabella’s priority. Isabella’s need for constant conversation may become problematic to Cherie. Isabella and Dave may vie for the attention of the group.

Dave and Isabella’s pace may wear thin on Sam who likes to take things slow. Sam may stress out whenever he is asked to make an on-the-spot decision on where to eat or what to do without being given ample time to consider his options. Cherie will eventually take exception to Dave’s lack of follow through. Sam and Isabella may be put off with Dave and Cherie’s direct style of communication, preferring a less direct communication approach.

Putting unique and different behavioral styles under one roof can be a recipe for successes and challenges. Roommates with different styles can grow from each other’s experiences as long as they learn how to overcome their differences. It all starts with an understanding of the behavioral style each person possesses and adapting to it. By recognizing the differences and adapting accordingly, roommates can find common ground and coexist happily and productively.

Dave Clark is with TTI Success Insights in Scottsdale. CT

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