A Guide to Roommate Conflict
posted by Samantha Schechter
Roommates are supposed to be best friends, right? That’s what I thought entering freshman year at LIM College.
In some cases that may be true, but odds are you and your roommate(s) will have disagreements. First thing’s first, no matter how well you and your roommate(s) get along outside of your room, conflict in the room is practically unavoidable. Whether it’s having a loud roommate, a messy one, or one you simply don’t get along with, here are some tips to dealing with roommate issues.
1. Roommate agreements sound like the cheesiest things ever, but take them seriously. Ultimately, the contract will be what you reference when you come to the point of actual conflict. When your RA sits down and asks you for a conflict-resolution plan, listen to your roommate’s response to better understand the way they prefer to be communicated to.
2. Once you acknowledge a specific problem between you and your roommate, approach them about it casually, sometimes a roommate may have no idea that they are doing something that bothers you or isn’t necessarily “normal.” If the unwanted behavior continues after that discussion, try reproaching the situation, outside of the room/building, and use different, but still kind, language.
3. Take advantage of having an RA. They aren’t there just to make sure you’re safe, but to help you handle conflict, stress, and other issues within the building. Your RA will be able to listen to you unbiasedly and confidentially and hopefully provide you with guidance towards the next step in resolving the conflict.
4. Put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. Consider why they might do that thing you don’t like, or why they are so messy. Keep in mind that everyone comes from a different background, whether it’s the city they’re from, their economic status, or their upbringing, something shaped them into who they are today. Maybe what you deem as a simple task like taking out the trash is something your roommate never experienced.
5. Lastly, don’t forget about your needs in the midst of conflict. Keep in mind why you came to LIM. Did you come for the internship opportunities, study abroad, or for a specific major? Your top few reasons are probably unrelated to living in dorms and sharing a living space. Ultimately, the conflicts you face in your room may seem like huge potholes on the highway of life, but really they are just another learning experience. Use your communication skills your professors preach at you and if all else fails, apply for a new room assignment. Your needs and success at LIM is much more valuable than trying to deal with a crummy roommate.