Sharing a space with a roommate isn’t easy, and anyone who has ever lived with a roommate will tell you that conflicts are sure to arise. What’s even worse? If you don’t make an effort to settle them in a timely matter, they’ll likely snowball out of control — fast!
Yes, you’re sure to experience your fair share of disagreements and issues. But, that doesn’t mean they need to create a tense and uncomfortable dynamic. Here are five steps for resolving a conflict with your roommate and moving forward!
1. Don’t Bottle It Up
Many of us have a tendency to stuff our emotions, until we eventually reach a breaking point and explode. But, being honest and forthright is one of the biggest keys to a successful roommate relationship. After all, if you continuously bottle your emotions and neglect to address issues, you’ll continue to dwell on them in your mind —which typically makes those issues seem even larger than they are!
So, make an effort to always be honest with your roommate about any of the things that are bothering you. You don’t want to be an incessant nag (after all, do you really need to confront them every time they leave one dish in the sink?). But, you should make sure they’re aware of any of the things that really do disturb you. They can’t fix these behaviors if they don’t know they exist!
2. Give Your Roommate a Heads Up
If you need to have a serious conversation with your roommate about a conflict or obnoxious behavior, you don’t want to spring it on them. Either they’ll feel ambushed and become overly defensive, or they’ll brush your remarks off as something unimportant said in passing.
So, ask your roommate out for a cup of coffee and let them know that there’s something important you need to talk over with them. This puts you both on neutral territory, and also puts your roommate in the frame of mind to have a frank and serious discussion — rather than feeling trapped while they’re unloading the dishwasher.
3. Don’t Place Blame
This is one of those tips that’s always easier said than done — especially if you believe your roommate did something that was wrong. But, it’s important that you make an effort not to point fingers or place blame. This will only make your roommate feel attacked.
Instead, explain the way you feel about a certain behavior or conflict, and then place your emphasis on how you can both fix this. In the end, it doesn’t really matter whose fault it is. You just need to focus on how you’ll move forward.
4. Create an Action Plan
There’s really nothing more frustrating than having the same argument over and over again. So, you and your roommate should devise a plan for resolving this issue — for good.
Put an action plan in place for how you’ll avoid this conflict in the future. Whether you implement a cleaning schedule or set a new rule that dictates you won’t have guests over past 10pm on weeknights, figure out a way to prevent this same issue from cropping up again and again.
5. Move On
Once you’ve resolved the conflict and determined how you’ll prevent it down the road, it’s time to take a deep breath and move on. Holding a grudge won’t do anything but create tension and an awkward living situation. So, let go and move forward. You’re both going to make mistakes, so accept the fact that you’re both human and focus on the things you actually like about each other! It will make living together easier and much more enjoyable — I promise.
Living with someone else can be difficult, and conflicts are bound to arise. Put these steps to work to solve the issue and enjoy the perks of living together!
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