Resolving Roommate Conflicts

Four female roommates laying upside down on a bed

By Jacob Dewhurst, UWO Health Advocate

bedWith a month of classes and first set of exams behind us this year, it is easy to understand that one would not want any more sources of stress in their life outside of classes and work. When they come home or go back to their dorms, they are doing so to relax and unwind from the long day. However, this haven for some people may be just another source of stress for others, and those people dread going back because that means dealing with that dreadful roommate of theirs.

Having the stress of school, work and whatever else may be on one’s plate is enough, so roommate conflicts are something that can and should be resolved. The following are some steps that can be taken in order to help settle such a dispute that may come up between you and your fellow roommate(s):

  1. bed side tableGet together as a group with everyone who is involved, and only with those that are involved. There is no need to involve an outside body as there is a possibility that they may be of no help and actually might hinder the situation.
  2. Have everyone there share how they perceive the problem and what they would like to be done about it. Being honest and clear about what each of you want is the best way to get to a decision that everyone is happy with.
  3. When talking, try to avoid lay blame on someone by saying things like “you did…”, but rather say how you feel by using “I” statements.
  4. Be open to what everyone has to say and try to see what they are saying from their perspective. Do not try and tell them that they are wrong about how they feel, because you do not get to decide how someone else feels. Rather, acknowledge how they feel and try and understand their point of view.
  5. Now that everything about how each person sees the situation and how they feel about it is in the open, it should be agreed upon what the core of this conflict is.

Now that you all know, or think you know, what the problem is, talk about possible solutions that could solve it. Negotiate between different suggestions and compromise to try and come to an agreement.

  • moonPlan together on the exact changes that have to be made by each of you in order to resolve this conflict, and also decide upon how soon these changes should take effect.
  • Decide for a time in the near future to come back together for the sole purpose of discussing this conflict again, and whether or not the solution agreed upon previously is working or if there is something else that needs to be done.