Graphic by Nate Barton
One aspect of college is learning how to deal with bad roommates. We have all had our fair share of roommate conflict. I have had great roommates but other times I have found myself hiding in Payson to avoid going home. But the conflict itself is not as important as how you choose to deal with it.
Put your passive-aggressive sticky notes down. They are not going to help the situation. This approach will add more tension in a bad roommate dynamic. In my experience with these, we spent our time trying to figure out which of my roommates left the note, instead of working toward a solution. Those yellow squares of judgment are no one’s friend.
If you have multiple roommates or suitemates, you may want to talk to them about the problem. If they agree, you could work together to solve the issue. It could be useful to have back up, but be cautious that it does not seem like you are ganging up on them. You are trying to create a better living situation, not start a nuclear war.
The best but most uncomfortable approach is to be direct. In a calm and mature manner, tell your roommate what is bothering you and why. Be polite without resorting to insults or blame. If my roommate had an issue with me, I would rather them tell me about it. No one can become a better roommate if they are not aware there is a problem in the first place. This approach is the best way to solve conflict as quickly as possible.
If all else fails, you could always move. I would not suggest doing so unless you have exhausted all other options. Speak with your Resident Advisors beforehand to see if they can help facilitate a conversation between you and your roommate. Moving may be a good option if it is what is best for you in the long run, but not the best move for dirty dishes or noise complaints.
Every living situation is temporary and how you deal with roommate issues is telling to who you are as a person. Use this experience to better your conflict management skills as this probably will not be your last.
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