Conflict Resolution Skills
Good communication is essential for a successful roommate relationship. Talk about what you expect from this relationship, when you expect to study, sleep, play music or video games, etc. When something your roommate does bothers you, talk about it.
Most people do not intentionally choose to be inconsiderate of others. Things that might irritate you may be acceptable to another person (and vice versa). Differences often are unappreciated. So, assert yourself. Before you approach your roommate, determine what your objective in the situation is. If roles were reversed, how would you want someone to approach you?
We recommend filling out a Roommate Agreement Form (pdf) with your roommate at the beginning of the school year to help establish and maintain a cooperative living environment between the two of you.
Helpful Hints For Good Communication
- Find an appropriate time to talk with your roommate. When your roommate is rushing out the door for a class is probably not the best time.
- Be sure to find a private location away from other people. If your roommate seems to be with others at all times, send him or her an email or text message to say that you would like to meet.
- Keep an open mind. Most likely your roommate will have a different view of the situation than you have. Listen as well as talk.
- Talk about whatever it is that bothers you as soon after it occurs as possible.
- Focus on things you and your roommate can change.
Your Resident Assistant (RA) can be a valuable resource for advice in resolving conflicts should they arise. Your RA can be objective about the problem and offer another perspective. He or she is also trained in conflict mediation and can help facilitate a discussion between you and your roommate if necessary.