Living with roommates can be challenging, especially in college apartments. Everyone is stressed out (pretty much all the time), and that can lead to conflicts. While conflicts are an unavoidable part of adult life, you can encourage growth and understanding through communication (and sometimes miscommunications).
Set a Time to Air Grievances
Complaining brings people together, ironically enough. There is something so cathartic about airing your grievances without fear of judgement. Setting a time and place to air all grievances about the month will not only foster a culture of good communication but it will get roommates to feel comfortable talking about things that bother them about each other and avoid building resentment against each other. It’s important to bond with your roommates—you don’t have to be best friends with them, but you should strive to create a healthy relationship.
Immediately Address Issues as They Arise
Yes, this one can be super uncomfortable, but it’s important to immediately address issues when they come up. Of course, there are moments you have to pick your battles. Your roommate leaving their dishes in the sink overnight “to soak” once in a while may be annoying, but it probably isn’t worth bringing it up. However, if they’re constantly neglecting to do their dishes, it may be worth talking about it. The longer you wait to address something, the more uncomfortable it will be, and it’s more likely that it will start fights.
To effectively address issues, approach your college apartment roommate privately. Make sure it’s a good time to talk, ensuring you aren’t heated and your roommate doesn’t feel blindsided. Be direct with them and avoid personal attacks. Use “I" statements, focusing on how the issue affects you rather than hurling accusations at them. Every person involved should have an opportunity to address what they believe the problem is, and how they think the issue can be resolved. Finding a solution will involve all parties giving and taking what they can.
Talk Face to Face
Not to sound old fashioned, but it’s best to address issues face to face. Sure, talking face to face can be uncomfortable. But it’s important that you avoid using text to address things.
While texting can provide time to cool down and think about how you want to word things, it’s very easy for the recipient of the text to misunderstand the intentions.
There are very few ways to accurately portray the correct tone when texting. Sure, there are emojis, but trying to address something that’s bothering you probably isn’t the best time to add cutesy characters. Instead, give yourself time to think about what you want to say before approaching your roommate.
Honesty is always the best policy. It’s important to establish trust in any effective relationship, and roommate relationships are no different. Being honest doesn’t just look like addressing things that are upsetting you. Being honest also includes making sure you aren’t talking about what’s bothering you behind your roommate’s back. Roommate to roommate confidentiality is very much a thing. And while breaking it probably can’t get you sued, it will almost certainly cause you problems with your home life. Frankly, it could just make you look like a jerk.
Respect Each Other’s Differences
One of the best things about college is the exposure you get to others. Students from all different backgrounds come together to experience college. When living with others, you need to accept that you all come from different backgrounds. And that’s part of what makes college so wonderful! While it can be frustrating at first, living with people who don’t do things exactly how you do them is fulfilling once you get through the barriers. Respecting others’ differences and finding common ground is crucial to getting through the college experience, and will widen your perspectives in the long run.
How StudentRoomStay Can Help
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