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Roommates for a Weekend; Possible Friends for Life
I’m posting as part of the ACFW Conference Blog Tour. To read other posts regarding the ACFW Conference, visit the blog
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We’ve heard them—the horrible roommate stories. Thankfully, I don’t have any stories to share. I’ve been blessed with having terrific roommates, who were friends, or who have become friends.
I attended my first ACFW Conference in 2005. I walked into that gorgeous hotel in Nashville and didn’t know a soul, except for the friends I made online through my critique group and forum discussions.
One person I was excited to meet was my roommate, Kathleen Atwell. We had yet to meet in person. I had responded to her roommate request, and we connected through e-mail. By the time I hugged her in person, I felt like I had known her for years instead of months. We roomed together the following year, too, and now she is a friend for life.
Attending conferences is expensive. One way to shave expenses is to share a room. If you are a private person who needs personal space to unwind, snore, or need to get up several times during the night, budget for a private room. However, if you don’t mind sharing a room and saving money, consider a roommate.
If you’re new to the ACFW conference and haven’t met any members in person, visit the forum and put a request for a roommate. Once you and another member agree to room together, spend time getting to know one another via e-mail or phone conversations. Decide who is going to reserve the room. Make sure payment arrangements are worked out in advance. Most hotels will bill roommates separately.
Before you agree to room together, consider discussing important issues to make sure you’re compatible:
  • Sleeping patterns—early bird or night owl
  • Entertaining friends in your room
  • Need for alone time
  • TV/radio preferences
  • Shower times
  • Wake-up calls
  • Room temperatures
  • Together time at conference
  • Smoking vs. non-smoking room
  • Allergies

Once you decide to room together, consider these suggestions to maintain a good roommate relationship: 
  • Not required, but I bring my roommate a small gift, usually something handmade or from my area of the country.
  • If your roommate is an early bird or light sleeper, don’t entertain friends in your room without her permission. If returning to the room after she is asleep, be as quiet as possible.
  • If you do snore, bring earplugs for your roommate, or let her know in advance so she can pack her own.
  • Keep your clothes picked up, and don’t leave your toiletries and makeup scattered all over the bathroom counter. Share your space. Respect personal boundaries.
  • Consider packing warmer pajamas if your roommate needs a cooler sleeping environment. 
  • Limit TV time and be aware of your roommate’s preferences to how much television is watched while in the room together. Ask your roommate what makes her uncomfortable. Be flexible and willing to compromise to avoid offending her.
  • Consider sharing a meal together, but don’t monopolize her time. Don’t expect to be best friends. Respect each other’s obligations.
  • Pray for each other, especially before those nerve-wracking editor/agent appointments.
  • Be cognizant of your roommate’s need for down time. Respect her privacy.
  • Have a positive attitude and show plenty of grace.

The ACFW Conference thrums with excitement, energy, and anticipation. You’re greeting old friends, making new ones, honing your craft, and revitalizing your faith. Roommates are terrific allies. Willingness to compromise and respecting each other’s boundaries is one less stressful thing you will need to worry about. Focus on the positive. You never know what relationships you may be forging.

Share Your Thoughts: Are you attending the ACFW Conference? Are you rooming with anyone? Have you met the person? What are your expectations? 
Lisa Jordan

5 Comments

  • Great thoughts, Lisa! I roomed with three other girls last year, one of them is now a very good friend and we're rooming again together this year!

  • Edie Melson says:

    Last year was my first ACFW conference. I've been to lots of other conferences, but always traveled and roomed with friends. This time I went solo and I found a roommate through the conference's first timers loop. It was so good to have someone to share the ups and downs of appointments and workshops.

  • I decided at the last minute to room with someone seeking a roommate last year. It was one of the BEST parts of the conference for me. As a first-timer, I was happy to have a feeling of camaraderie and someone to "come home to" at the end of the night. Now I consider Suzanne a friend, and I get to go root for her again as a Genesis finalist!

  • It is so cool to read abou the friends made through being a roomie! Glad it always worked out!

  • How interesting!
    When I'm able to go, I'd love to have a new roomie.
    Sounds fun.
    Something to look forward to, if you can get along, lol.

    Thanks for sharing.

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