It’s the middle of the semester and you’re worrying about that midterm, but you may also be worrying about how to tell your roommate their attempt at an all-nighter has kept you up all night long.
Here’s a few handy tips to help you work through roommate worries:
1) Breathe and know you’re not alone. Whether this is your 1st semester with a roommate or your 4th, some level of conflict is natural. Not sure if your frustration with your roommate’s fuzz on their dishes is appropriate or overboard? Talk with your RA for some perspective. They have been through it all before and want you and your roommate to have a good experience.
2) Make a plan to revisit your roommate agreement. Your roommate agreement is a living document and can be updated any time you or your roommate needs an adjustment, as long as you both are part of the conversation. You can do this with your RA or on your own – whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Your Resident Assistant has had training on conflict mediation and they’re the perfect person to practice through what you’re going to say.
3) Talk with your roommate – face to face. Do not text them or tweet about them. Communication is key to resolving any roommate conflict. You two have only been living together for 7 weeks and they may not know how to read your non-verbal cues, yet, so you need to say what’s on your mind. In turn, you’ve also got to listen to their perspective, so give them the opportunity to share their concerns.
4) Update your roommate agreement and get specific. Now that you have experienced living together, you may have a few more comments to add to round 2 of your roommate agreement. Frustrated about the piles of clothes? Not sure when the sink was cleaned last? Maybe it’s time to establish a chore rotation! Put the important pieces in writing – and especially how you’ll respond if a conflict resurfaces.
5) Give second chances all around. We’re not all perfect and learning to live together takes time. Your roommate’s made mistakes and you’ve probably made a few, too. If you have openly and honestly discussed what has been bothering you, give each other a fair chance to follow your new and improved roommate agreement.
6) Keep the conversation going – make a standing dinner date! Good relationships take time to develop, and sharing a meal outside your room is the perfect way to continue getting to know each other. It will also give you a regular opportunity to talk to each other about what’s on your mind.
7) If all else fails, don’t worry! There are professional Hall Coordinators who can offer advanced roommate mediation. Lastly, the Shop and Swap program is open, so you can explore moving in with someone else. Read the User Guide first, and then swap away! We also recommend that you let your roommate know ahead of time that you would like to swap so that they are aware a new person may be coming into the space.
Remember, the more you talk with your roommate about living together, the easier it will become! Then you can focus on writing that paper instead of passive-aggressive post it notes.