5 Ways to Settle Roommate Disputes

By Brittany Hawes on January 24, 2018

It’s bound to happen—put two or more people in a small space together where many of their belongings are shared and the amount of privacy is limited and you’re going to have a roommate dispute. A “roommate dispute” is when you and your roommates butt heads over something and it’s causing friction in your relationship and within the household. It doesn’t have to be something huge; it can be a simple as someone forgot to wipe their feet before coming into the house. Or it can be something that really bugs you, such as your roommate constantly blasting their music at all hours of the night, even when you’re trying to get some sleep.

Roommate disputes are not pleasant to go through and it can cause stress for all parties involved. If you’re not one for confrontation, having a dispute with your roommate can cause overwhelming amounts of stress and even make you lose focus on classes or work. That’s why it’s important to be able to handle all roommate disputes in a calm and effective manner that will solve the issue and leave everyone feeling satisfied with the outcome, no matter what the size of the dispute.

Does this sound more appealing than having a shouting match with your roommates or giving each other the silent treatment for days? These really are the simpler solutions! If you want to settle roommate disputes peacefully, here are five says to settle roommate disputes that I have gathered from my own experiences.

settle roommate disputes

Image via Pixabay.com

1. Be honest

You always want to be honest with the people you have in your life. If you have an issue with something your roommate does and it’s truly bothering you, not being honest about what is bothering you and the reason why might leave your roommate wondering why you’re giving him the cold shoulder instead of settling down with him for your usual Friday night movies.

Honesty is the best policy! This remains true even when being honest might call for an uncomfortable conversation with your roommate. Sometimes, a roommate might be unaware that their habit of chewing gum with their mouth open is annoying you or that you need silence in order to study. If you beat around the bush or let them believe that everything they’re doing, even if it’s bothering you, is okay for them to do, they’ll have no real reason to try and change or negotiate with you to make the living situation for both of your easier. Don’t be afraid to let your roommate know that something is bothering you. They will probably appreciate you telling them.

2. Communicate clearly and effectively

Actions speak louder than words, but sometimes words are best suited for getting your ideas across to others. We all know that sticky notes can be seen as passive-aggressive, and that their meaning can be taken a lot harsher than what it was originally intended to be. Instead of avoiding those awkward conversations with your roommate about keeping her dirty laundry out of the shared living area, schedule a time for you and her to sit down and talk about it, face-to-face. Face-to-face conversation will allow for you to see her reaction in person and to judge if she understands what you’re asking for her to do instead.

Telling someone that something is bothering you is one part of the task; coming to a solution is the other. During the conversation, make sure you let her know what you’d like for her to do instead of leaving her dirty laundry out and have her agree to change. This will also give your roommate a chance to let you know if there are any habits of yours that are making life difficult for her.

3. Remain calm

Do not, I repeat, do not get into an angry shouting match with your roommate. This will only cause friction within your home and cause both of you to dislike the other. Calmly handle any disputes you have by having a quiet conversation. It’s okay to let your roommate know exactly how you feel but you can get your point across without getting in their face and yelling, especially if you want to have a decent relationship.

4. Be mature

Along with yelling, childish behavior like name-calling and gossiping behind your roommate’s back with other roommates or friends is a surefire way to turn your relationship with your roommate into a sour one. If you accidentally locked yourself out of the house and you need to get back in but your roommate is asleep, don’t get angry at her for not answering the door and resort to throwing rocks at her window and calling her names. Instead, work out a plan for future accidents like these. Be mature with how you handle roommate disputes so you don’t have to deal with adding a hostile roommate to your list of problems.

5. Work out a deal

Don’t let a dispute be blown out of proportions. Negotiate with your roommate and compromise where necessary to make things easier for both of you so that you can both focus on graduating from college rather than fighting.

Having a fight with your roommate is something that’s bound to happen, but if you keep these rules in mind, you’re guaranteed to settle roommate disputes with ease.

Hi there! My name's Britt and I'm a senior majoring in English major at Florida State University. I have these crazy, big dreams of traveling the entire world and writing novels in my spare time. I love music, food, and the Japanese culture. I plan on teaching English in Japan upon graduation from Florida State. My first YA novel, Twisted, was published by Deep Sea Publishing Company in 2014. It won a Readers' Favorite Book Award that same year. Alongside schoolwork, I'm working hard on the second book in the Twisted series as well as a number of other novels.

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