As an RA, I have seen my fair share of roommate conflicts. Some of them can get pretty nasty, especially when dealing with freshman girls…yikes! Roommate conflicts are a common and very normal part of college life. Every has them in some form or another. It’s inevitable.
Luckily, if you do find yourself in the midst of a roommate conflict, hope is not lost! There are a lot of things that you can do to peacefully deal with roommate conflicts when they arise.
Write a roommate agreement.
A roommate agreement is a list of “rules” that you and your roommate agree to follow. It’s so easy to just say “oh we’ll get along, we don’t need to make a roommate agreement”. But trust me, you will regret it later, if you don’t. Roommate agreements are one of the biggest ways that you can prevent roommate conflicts before they happen.
If you need help writing up a roommate agreement, talk to your RA! They are equipped and trained to help you with this. Some things to consider adding to your roommate contract are:
- When is it okay for someone to spend the night in the room?
- What can be borrowed or shared? Be specific!
- Can we play our music without headphones?
- When should the door be propped open?
- What should we do in case of a disagreement or argument?
- How late should the lights be on? Can we turn on the lights if we come in late?
These are just a few ideas, but Her Campus has a roommate contract template, which is insanely and wonderfully detailed!
If something bothers you, speak up.
As an RA, I have seen may too many roommate conflicts that could have been avoided by one simple thing: communication. It is very common for roommates to bottle up their frustration and annoyance at each other. This is super unhealthy because it almost always ends with a big fight, hurt feelings and mediation, which isn’t fun for anyone.
If your roommate does something that annoys you or that you don’t like, tell them! It’s as simple as that…okay, I know it’s not that simple! Honestly, it can be so hard to talk to your roommate about something that is bothering you.
Use “I” statements.
Instead of telling your roommate, “It’s so annoying when you leave the lights on all night”, try “I feel frustrated when the lights are left on really late at night”. This takes the weight of the blame off of them and allows you to take responsibility for how you feel. When you use an “I” statement, it can help your roommate feel less attacked and more calm.
Be willing to listen to their side of the story.
This is a great time to practice your active listening skills! Once you have shared how you feel with your roommate, let your roommate take a turn. Let them share their side of the story and ask them if they have anything that they need to tell you. Actually listen to what they have to say and think about how you can improve as a roommate, as well.
Know when to ask for help.
If you follow all of the above tips, and things still don’t get better. It may be time to call in the big guns…your RA. Your RA is fully trained and equipped to help you and your roommate deal with arguments and conflicts.
If you are having roommate problems, don’t fret. All hope is not lost. Many roommate have issues that get worked out with a little patience and a lot of communication. Who know, you might end up becoming best friends with your roommate!