Tips for Handling Conflict Resolution with a Roommate

Sharing an apartment with a roommate has its perks. You can split costs and divvy up chores. Roommates also provide opportunities to socialize and develop good communication skills.

Cohabitating can present challenges, too, especially if you and your roomie have different personalities, lifestyles and habits. Conflicts are almost inevitable, but having a resolution strategy can help you maintain a positive relationship.

Two female roommates arguing on a sofa in an apartment living room

Don’t Wait to Talk It Out

Your disagreements won’t resolve themselves, so it’s important to discuss them before they escalate and bad feelings take hold. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should have a discussion if the two of you are still mad or frustrated.

Talk after you’ve both had a chance to calm down. That gives you time to collect your thoughts and find a neutral, shared space to chat.

Be Accountable

Stepping away before trying to settle a dispute allows you to look at an issue from the other person’s point of view. It’s important to acknowledge your errors or mistakes so the dialogue doesn’t sound like accusations. Clearing up disagreements requires both of you to be accountable for your words and actions.

Find Common Ground

Being compassionate can go a long way toward resolving conflict and maintaining healthy relationships. You and your roommate may need to make concessions to reach a reasonable solution that benefits both of you.

For example, let’s say you have an issue with your roommate blasting their music all night, but he doesn’t want to shut it off. He could compromise by adhering to quiet hours after a certain time. You could give in a little by accepting the music at a lower volume.

Use “I” Statements

Saying “you’re too messy” or “you don’t pick up after yourself” might put your roommate on the defensive. Reword your statements to reflect your emotions without blaming her. That can prevent feelings of hostility and encourage productive conversation.

Here are some “you” statements:

  • You always leave dirty dishes in the sink.
  • You’re really loud when you have friends over at night.
  • You never do your half of the chores.

These are alternative “I” statements:

  • I get frustrated when I see dirty dishes in the sink.
  • I have trouble falling asleep when there’s too much noise.
  • I feel overwhelmed when I complete chores on my own.

Listen to Understand

Giving your roommate your undivided attention shows her you care about what she has to say. Listening to understand requires you to put your thoughts and emotions aside and devote your attention to your friend. If you’re listening to respond, you aren’t paying as much attention to what your roommate is saying because you’re only thinking about how you want to answer.

Here are some tips for active listening:

  • Put away phones and other distractions during discussions.
  • Don’t interrupt while your roommate is speaking.
  • Make eye contact and use nonverbal cues like positive facial expressions and body language.
  • Summarize your roommate’s thoughts to ensure you understand their meaning.

Show Respect

Being respectful will set the stage for your conversation. Expressing yourself without blaming and pointing out what you perceive as your roommate’s shortcomings can go a long way toward building trust.

You have to show respect to get it, especially if you want to have a worthwhile exchange. Yelling, name-calling and dismissing his feelings won’t produce a positive outcome.

Remember, not all discussions end in solutions, so it’s important to know when to walk away. Give your roommate time to gather his thoughts and then reconvene later. You may have to agree to disagree at least temporarily.

Apartments for Roommates in Columbus, Ohio

Ardent Communities has a variety of two and three-bedroom apartments that will provide you and your roommate with plenty of space. Check out our apartments and contact us to schedule a tour.

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