Most college students go into their freshman year hoping to at least get along with their roommate, even if they don’t necessarily end up becoming best friends. Unfortunately, sometimes you and your roommate just aren’t the right fit for each other, or have differences that you can’t seem to work through. When you have conflicts with your roommate it’s extremely important to address them quickly and efficiently so that negative feelings don’t have lots of time to sit and get worse, so here are a few tips on what to do when you and your roommate just can’t seem to make things work.
1. Sit down and talk.
The key to working through any conflict is good communication. If you and your roommate are having problems, schedule a time to sit down and discuss the issues you’re having. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, and you may be able to resolve conflicts just through communication.
2. Address problems early on.
It may be tempting to wait until a problem gets worse to talk about it, in order to prevent confrontation that may be awkward, but any negative feelings you have for your roommate will only get worse if you let them sit and stew. Likely you or your roommate will continue repeating whatever behaviors are bothering each other, which will only cause more animosity.
3. Be open to change.
In most cases, no one person is responsible for conflict. Acknowledge that you’ll probably have to change some of your behaviors to make things with your roommate work, and be open to change and criticism.
4. Address actions, not personalities.
Your roommate may be doing things that bother you, but that doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person. When talking to them, make sure you’re using statements like “I’d prefer it if you let me know when you’re bringing guests over,” not “You’re so insensitive for bringing guests over without telling me”.
5. Plan out what you’re going to say beforehand.
It can be easy for emotions to get out of control in the heat of the movement and make you say things you’ll later regret. Have a general idea of what you’re going to say to your roommate and how you’re going to phrase it before your conversation.
6. Don’t take anything as an attack on you personality.
Your roommate may address things you do that they don’t like. Don’t take those critiques as an insult on you as a person; they’re usually not intended to be. Listen to what they say, and take everything in stride.
7. Bring in your RA if you need to.
Sometimes conflicts can’t be resolved between just you and your roommate. If things don’t get better, or if you can’t come to an agreement on a problem, ask your RA for help. That’s what they’re there for.
8. Be open to compromise.
There’s a good chance that neither party will be able to get everything they want. Be willing to compromise on certain issues: maybe your roommate will stop playing their music at 10 pm instead of 9, and maybe you’ll have to clean your room every two weeks instead of three.
9. Acknowledge that you won’t resolve every problem.
You can have multiple conversations with your roommate, make several compromises and bring in your RA half a dozen times and still not resolve every problem. At the end of the day, you may just have to deal with an uncomfortable situation, or you or your roommate may have to move. Accepting this will make you feel less guilty if things just don’t work out.
Every pair of roommates has their ups and downs, so knowing how to deal with conflicts when they arise is extremely important. Don’t be afraid to address conflicts when they arise, and understand that your roommate is a person too and has reasons for everything they do.
Lead Image Credit: Pexels