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How to Handle Roommate Conflict

posted by Samantha Schechter


If you're going to grad school chances are finances are tough, so, one thing you might do to save money is to move in with a roommate(s). We all hope (and try!) to get along with our roommate(s) but somtimes that can be difficult.

Chances are at some point you will have a disagreement. 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 you sit down with your roommate to discuss the issue at hand, be sure to listen to what they have to say so you can better understand her/him.

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. 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.

4. 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 or job opportunities or a specific major? Your top few reasons are probably unrelated to living with a roomate and sharing a living space. Ultimately, the conflicts you face in your apartment 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, you can always move out. Your needs and success at LIM is much more valuable than trying to deal with a crummy roommate.

Topics: Student Advice, Inside Graduate Studies