The role of a resident assistant often requires a
lot of discretion and "dirty work." It is
not a glamorous job, and many do not want to have
to deal with the daily chores of being an RA. On the
opposite side, this job has many benefits. One of
the benefits of this position is the constant interactions
with the residents. Residents will often befriend
the resident assistants due to constant interaction.
These friendships can be very strong and last much
longer than the professional relationship. However,
sometimes this "friendship" will be formed
for the sole purpose of bending the rules. Unfortunately,
most RAs have faced this challenge at some point in
their careers. The following are a few guidelines
for maintaining a friendship with your residents.
- You are still the RA, no matter what your friend
says. Often the friend will try to say that
you really don't have that much authority or it
won't matter. Stand firm in your position.
- Treat your friend like you treat all your other
residents. Sometime when using discretion it
is difficult to determine if you are playing favorites
or not. If you have ANY doubt ask yourself, "If
this was "John", would I act the same
way?" If the answer is yes, you are fine. If
the answer is no, you need to re-evaluate the situation.
- Confidentiality is still important in the residence
hall. Although they may be your best friend,
you must avoid telling them everything that is going
on in the residence hall. They are still residents
and could potentially spread rumors about what you
- Remember, if they are truly your friend, they
will respect your position.
These are only a small portion of guidelines. You
should continue to add to this list throughout your
career as an RA. On the flip side, there are several
advantages to having your friends as residents. Regardless
if they are your friends or not, your residents are
your primary concern in the halls. Continue to excel
at your job and while you do, you will accumulate
friends that will last a lifetime.
Cindy Kemp is a 3rd year RA at the
University of Louisville