No one likes to fight with roommates. You live together and interact on a daily basis, so it’s important to keep the peace. Disagreements between roommates are inevitable- dirty dishes, who will buy the toilet paper, and many reasons. When roommate conflict arises, it is important to resolve issues in a healthy way to make the rest of the year more enjoyable for everyone!
Making a roommate contract is can be really helpful. Talking about things up front can save you a lot of frustration later on. This contract will help you avoid future conflicts by setting house rules and boundaries. Some topics to discuss include:
• Sharing personal items and food
• Sleep and quiet time
• Smoking and drinking
Healthy Conflict Resolution Tips
1. Talk to your roommate directly when something is bothering you. Don’t discuss it behind his/her back; this will stir up more tension and cause distrust between you two.
2. Be clear about what is bothering you. If you don’t tell your roommate that there is a problem they won’t be able to do anything about it.
3. Respect each others differences. Everyone has different values, lifestyles, expectations, and communication styles. Get to know each other and establish common ground. It is easier to solve a problem with a friend than a stranger.
4. Be respectful and listen. Sometimes people feel strongly about something, so it’s important to listen to what they have to say. Acknowledge their feelings; never tell someone they shouldn’t feel a certain way. Save your point of view until after the other person is done talking.
5. Take a “time-out”. If you are feeling really heated about a situation, take some time to yourself to cool down. Get out of the house for a little and talk about the issue when you are calmer.
6. Compromise is key. A steady give-and-take between you and your roommate will ease the tensions that can arise.
Written by Steph Caporizzo, Volunteer