How to confront your dorm roommate

Move in was a success, got taste of your class schedule, and had your first few nights in your new dorm room. By now, you and your roommate should have received a roommate agreement contract from your Resident Assistant.

This document list a series of questions from studying, sleep, cleaning, guests, etc., that you and your roommate will discuss and sign off together. If any conflict were to arise and a mediator is needed i.e. your Resident Assistant, this signed form will be pulled out for review.

We get it, confrontation is never easy, but necessary to find a resolution so both parties can move forward. If we try to open up, it can lead to an environment of trust and openness that makes living together a bit more blissful.

The way to look at are by these actions; express, compromise, and respect.

EXPRESS – Communicate your feelings and use words such as “I” not “You.” Many of these examples we are going to present is hypothetical but if your roommate is doing something undesirable, such as bringing friends late at night and not respecting your sleep hours, express your concerns how it is inappropriate, especially if you have an early morning class.

It is important not to “attack” when you confront. The emphasis of using “I” is key here. For example, “I know we have opposite class schedules, but I need my rest at night because I have an 8:00 a.m. class and I feel it’s highly inappropriate to bring friends over late at night. Is there a way we could change this?” Noticed how we just stick to the facts? People make mistakes and sometimes we make judgement calls at the time that doesn’t seem to have consequences because we’re just thinking about ourselves. If we confront our roommate about the situation in an aggressive way, then your roommate will be defensive. This situation is what we want to avoid because it creates a wide riff making communication tougher to establish.

COMPROMISE – In our statement, we asked how we could change the action of bringing guests over late at night to something more reasonable. Here, we communicate how we can meet in the middle ground. In this scenario, Roommate B, who was bringing people over, doesn’t want to stop bringing friends over, and Roommate A just wants to stop having people over late at night. A compromise in this situation could be weekends only or where Roommate A doesn’t have an early morning class. It’s important not to be demanding, but listen to each other’s needs and offer solutions that could work for both.

RESPECT – Probably the most important part of this, respect. In the end, we must respect each other’s needs, space, and boundaries. Each of us is unique and have our own little quirks, but if we can learn to respect those, and ourselves, then living together can a wonderful experience. Not all things will be sunshine and rainbows but that is okay, just as long as there is communication.

Have a wonderful semester!

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