Roommate conflicts are almost a rite of passage into adulthood. While these can be valuable experiences that prepare you for life, I think we all agree that they are unpleasant and should be avoided at all costs.
Here are a few tips to help avoid arguments and squash any conflicts as soon as they arise:
How to Avoid Problems
Lots of conflicts can be easily avoided if you respect each other’s space and act like mature adults. Here are a few tips to remember:
Communicate - Don't Let Problems Pile Up
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. If your roommate is doing something that really bothers you, have a mature conversation about the issue without attacking him or her and without raising your voice. This will be more productive and give you a more honest, open relationship.
Learn to Compromise
Most freshmen are accustomed to having their own space, but this is generally not the case once you get to college and have to share a tiny apartment or dorm. You and your roommates will have to compromise on certain issues for the sake of keeping the peace. You don’t have to sacrifice everything for your roommates, you just have to work together to make each other comfortable.
Make Other Friends
The quickest way to ruin a friendship is to spend each and every second of your lives together. When people live together, play together, study together, etc., personality quirks that didn’t seem so bad at first will suddenly become impossible to ignore.
Try to find people that you can go out with and vent to should problems arise with your roommate. Not only will this make you less dependent on your roommates, it will give you some much needed space to do your own thing.
What to Do When Problems Do Arise
Some conflicts are simply unavoidable. This is inevitable when you’re sharing a small space with other people. However, this doesn’t mean it is OK for regular screaming matches between you and your roommates.
Use these tips to keep discussions respectful and focused on solutions:
Focus on Behavior, Not Personality
When problems arise and you need to talk with your roommates, focus on the issues at hand and not personality. For example, don’t complain that your roommates are “too sloppy.” Instead, ask them to be more attentive to the dishes. Not only is this more polite, it tells them what exactly you are mad about and how they can fix it.
Your roommates may have complaints as well. Maybe there is something you can do to make things more pleasant, so make sure that you are open to suggestions as well!
Don’t verbally attack your roommate or get defensive. Arguing and pointing fingers at each other will only make things worse and cause more tension between you. Be respectful and listen to your roommate’s perspective before proposing a solution. Nobody enjoys unnecessary conflict, so try to keep things light and positive!
Keeping the Peace
Sharing a space with another person is never easy. Use these tips to keep things peaceful and avoid unnecessary conflicts. After all, you are here to learn, not to fight.
Looking for more college advice? Check out our favorite tips for Adjusting to College Life.