Handle Roommate Conflicts in College
Edited by owen, Charmed, Innocent Yogo, Ephraim and 6 others
Living with a roommate throughout your college years is a good learning experience and you might even develop a bond of friendship that lasts a lifetime. However, the reality is that conflicts will arise when you're sharing living quarters, especially if you're an only child, or you're not used to sharing your space with others. However; there are a lot of ways you can learn to deal with and prevent these conflicts by being respectful, making compromises and taking care of problems as soon as they occur so you can live together happily and enjoy your college years.
- 1 How to Prevent Conflicts With Your Roommate
- 2 How to Handle Conflicts With a Roommate
- 3 Tips, Tricks & Warnings
- 4 Can I Choose My Roommate?
- 5 Questions and Answers
- 6 Comments
How to Prevent Conflicts With Your Roommate
When you're living with a roommate, stressful situations are bound to occur that may result in arguments or bad feelings. There are many things you can do to deal with and limit those situations, so you can both live and study in peace.
- 1Learn more about each other.Advertisement
- 2Set boundaries.Work together to come up with some basic rules you'll both follow pertaining to important issues. In some cases, it's a good idea to write up a contract so you both have a clear representation of expected behavior and lines you don't cross. Some things you might list on the contract include using each other's personal property, letting people spend the night, sleep/study time, splitting up the chores and whether you'll each buy your own food or share the grocery bill.Advertisement
- 3Be respectful.
- 4Learn to negotiate.Even if you've established some ground rules or boundaries about private property, food, visitors and other preferences, you will also need to learn to compromise. Unless you and your roommate totally mirror each other's lives, your personal schedules and activities are bound to conflict at least some of the time. Learn which things are deal-breakers and which things you can give up for the sake of the other person. If you find yourself complaining about every little thing your roommate does that annoys you, realize that you might need to loosen up and learn to respect each other's differences.
- 5Develop better communication.
- 6Hang out together.You don't have to become best friends, but it is nice to get closer to the person you'll be living with for the next year or so. Even if you're both really busy, take some time to just chit-chat, watch a movie, play a video game or eat a meal together at least once a week. You might learn a lot more about each other, which can help you see your "annoying" roommate in a whole new light.
How to Handle Conflicts With a Roommate
If you've already done everything listed above to avoid conflict with your roommate and incidents still occur, there are several things you can do to calm down, resolve the issue and mend the relationship. In order to do this, you'll both have to take responsibility for your actions and address the situation as mature adults. Try these tips to tone down the conflict and restore a peaceful relationship with your roommate.
- 1Wait until you're both calm and collected to discuss the situation.If you've just had a major argument or fight, take a walk to cool off, go visit a friend or family member or do something relaxing. If you try to talk about your problems while you're still very upset, it's likely that you'll say things in the heat of the moment that you'll regret. If you need to talk about what happened with someone else, try to talk to a family member or friend who isn't involved in your circle of friends, so anything you say won't get back to roommate and further instigate the issue.Advertisement
- 2Recognize the issue.
- 3Address the issue.Once you've determined what started the conflict, you can discuss the issue. Calmly approach your roommate in private, and ask him/her to have a talk with you when they're free. Be polite but direct, and let your roommate know which of their behaviors upset you. Make sure you give your roommate a chance to speak, and listen to what he or she has to say. If you've done something to upset your roommate, don't make excuses or act overly defensive. Stay calm and be willing to apologize, forgive or make compromises. Try to come up with a solution that works for both of you. If someone has broken the rules that you set together, revise the contract if necessary, to avoid further conflict.
- 4Consider mediation.Advertisement
Tips, Tricks & Warnings
- Avoid gossiping about your roommate to friends. This goes especially for friends that go to the same college. These types of things often end up getting back to the person one way or another. If you absolutely must share the details, do it with your own personal friends or family members when you're sure there's no way he or she will hear about it later.
- If your roommate eats your food and you haven't agreed to share it, you should both start labeling what you buy. If the roommate continues to eat your food despite the agreement, contact your resident advisor or assistant.
- If your roommate won't clean up his or her messes and it's getting to be too much to handle, have a talk about the problem and set a routine cleaning date that you both agree upon. In many cases, it works best to share cleaning duties in common areas, while bedrooms and private space is dictated by personal preference.
Can I Choose My Roommate?
Traditionally, schools pair their freshman with roommates based on a questionnaire they fill out after being admitted to a university. Students are asked about their sleeping style, cleanliness, studying and other habits, and their extra curricular activities. School "matchmakers" pair roommates based on this information and hope for the best.
These days, many universities and colleges pair students via social networking sites like RoomSurf and RoomSync. These sites work similarly to dating sites, where students enter a variety of lifestyle information and are given a list of compatible matches. The students can choose their own roommates based on the information given. This method became a trend because there's a growing number of students who request room reassignment over the years--usually because of roommate conflict.
Regardless of whether or not you can choose your own roommate, it's best to contact each other once you find out who your roommate will be. This helps to break the ice, and you can decide who will bring certain appliances such as a TV or coffeemaker. Add each other on social networking sites so you can find out if you have any common interests or mutual friends. It's also a good idea to meet up in person so you can learn more about the person's true personality, habits and preferences.
Questions and Answers
What should I do when I have an unexpected dilemma with a roommate?
This just happened recently when I wanted to return his mouse that I borrowed, but at the time I didn't know what he was doing. Our room is designed with a partition-like structure, so we don't exactly have doors for full privacy. We have a closet to partially disclose our partition for privacy. When I was knocking on his closet to let him know that I wanted to return his mouse, he immediately shouted at me and used a lot of unethical words toward me. I tried to apologize for making him angry, but for some reason, he kept saying mean things to me.
Invite your roommate to have a talk when he has some free time, and ask him if you did something to make him angry. It's possible that you just caught him at a bad time. If he's willing to talk to you calmly and politely, listen to what he has to say. If you've done something that bothers him, apologize and consider changing your behavior for both of your benefits. If he's being extremely rude or unreasonable, contact your resident advisor or assistant to help you deal with this matter.
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Categories : Communications & Education
Recent edits by: Shelley, Eng, lee anderson