February 01, 2016
Avoid letting your issues snowball and you both become frustrated.
Sure, the first couple of days – or even weeks – seemed fine. But, when roommates are involved things can go awry in an instant.
And, now that second semester is here, the issues at hand may be highlighted more than they were during your “getting to know you” period.
Don’t get too discouraged, it’s difficult to live with anyone and a stranger can be even more of a challenge. There are ways to work out your issues easily and effectively.
Use the following tips as guidelines to alleviate common roommate issues or, better yet, prevent them before they begin.
Avoid the “snowball effect,” talk out your issues as they happen. That way, nobody will feel attacked or overwhelmed at the magnitude of the situation because, chances are, the problem was small enough to resolve in the first place.
If and when you do decide to confront an issue, make sure you think about what you’d like to say, before you say it. Often times, fights occur when things are blurted out without thinking. This is something that is easily avoidable by gathering your thoughts. Also, try using “I” statements when speaking so that your roommate doesn’t get defensive.
Keep in mind that you’re not the only one living with another person that’s unfamiliar—your roommate is too. Try to be reasonable in your expectations and meet in the middle when necessary. Know when to choose your battles so your room doesn’t turn into a battlefield.
If you’re already aware you’re a light sleeper, let your roommate know before an issue occurs. Or, perhaps, your absolute pet peeve is having people use your things. Whatever the situation, it’s important for both roommates to set boundaries before issues arise. It’s likely that some issues may arise regardless, but you’ll be ahead of the curve.
College is a time where students from different background with different morals, values and ideas of what’s acceptable behavior come together. Perhaps it was perfectly acceptable to leave dirty socks around in your home, but your roommate may not feel that way. If you set some rules from day one, getting along with become a whole lot easier and your living experience will likely be a lot more enjoyable.
Not everyone is going to be your BFF. That’s life, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get along with that person. Make sure your expectations of having a roommate are realistic—a roommate is a person to live with, not a person you’re bound to for eternity.
When all else fails, talk to a professional staff member on your college campus that’s trained to deal with the situation, like a resident advisor (RA) or residence hall director (RHD). There’s no point in walking around with steam blowing out your ears and some conflicts are big enough that room changes become necessary. Other times it’s helpful to sort out the situation with a third party.
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