Tips on How to Solve Any Roommate Disagreements

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Conflict between roommates can be extremely difficult to navigate. Unfortunately, living in close quarters with another person can easily lead to disagreements over something that seems so trivial. Roommate disagreements not only negatively affect your personal relationship with the roommate, but can also negatively affect how comfortable you feel in your own living space as you live with the person while you are trying to navigate whatever dispute you find yourselves in.

Keep reading for tips on how to solve any roommate disagreements and help maintain a peaceful and comfortable living space for all roommates.

College Roommates: Tips on How to Solve Any Roommate Disagreements

Don’t brush things under the rug
If you or your roommate are the type of person who is more likely to be avoidant at any sight of conflict, roommate disagreements can easily escalate. Between friends or peers, brushing over a disagreement can work if the source of the disagreement is somewhat trivial and likely won’t come up again. Between roommates, however, disagreements can come up time and time again over the same issue or build up into a larger argument.

Don’t brush things under the rug when it comes to roommate disagreements. Even if the disagreement is small, take the time to address it between roommates while everyone is in a calm state of mind and can come to the discussion with a clear head.

If you continuously brush disagreements under the rug, they may only come out when one roommate has finally had enough and brings them all up with plenty of anger and frustration. If they feel like they’ve been slighted over and over again, they may come into a discussion more hostile than friendly, and be less likely to see the other side of the argument. Taking the time to navigate disagreements, no matter how small they may seem, will establish respect and understanding between roommates. Setting a precedent like this can help make future disagreements easier to address and navigate if you’ve already done it before.

Be Proactive and hold roommate meetings
When you first moved in with your roommates, you likely all got together to discuss your expectations for your roommates and the living space you share. You likely discussed cleaning, guest policies, quiet hours – things that typically can cause roommate disagreements.

The initial house rules shouldn’t be the end-all discussion for rules, but just a basis for your time living together. Routines and expectations can shift, and allowing your roommates to discuss changes needed for your shared space can help prevent or solve any disagreements.
Schedule regular meetings with roommates – it can be something as simple as a shared meal where everyone can sit down and chat about anything of concern.

Allow these meetings to be an open floor for any roommate to bring up something that has been bothering them and use the time to discuss how to solve the issue at hand. This can help roommates who feel unsure of the best time to bring up an issue, or allow them to bring up an issue at a time where they feel more calm than when the issue first popped up.

Seek the common ground
Depending on the disagreement, one roommate can be on one side of an issue with another roommate on the complete opposite side of an issue. Picking one side of an issue over the other can lead to a very upset roommate that feels like their side was left ignored, and can leave the disagreement feeling unsolved even if you feel like picking a side effectively should have ended the disagreement.

There’s a large chance the roommate who didn’t get their way still feels the same way about the issue as they did prior to the disagreement coming up, so the agreed upon solution may just be prolonging the disagreement until it comes up again.

To avoid this, look at the issue at hand to identify a common ground you can land on. Sure, neither roommate are getting their ideal outcome, but both parties will have to agree to lose out on a little bit so they can gain a compromise on the issue. The outcome may take some getting used to if it’s something they weren’t expecting, but it can help everyone feel like their opinion was taken into consideration and respected.

Involve a third party
If you find yourself in a disagreement where neither party looks like they are willing to come to a compromise, it’s time to seek a third part for mediating. If you are living in student housing, a mediatir can be your resident advisor, or it can be a mutual friend. Avoid having someone that is entirely one person’s connection if you or your roommates feel like that person is more prone to taking their closer friend’s side.

Pick a mediator that can help see everyone’s side and help guide the discussion as you navigate the disagreement.

Roommate disagreements are bound to happen at one point during your time together. With these tips in mind, you can help everyone navigate through disagreements and come to a solution.

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