Dirty dishes, unwanted guests, loud music one room over, a long overdue check for their share of rent, heavy noise from slammed doors — the grievances you can rack up against a roommate may seem endless.
But there is always a right way to deal with difficult roommates rather than loosing your cool and making everyone suffer.
Resist the urge to retaliate
In any conflict, retaliation makes the other person angry and intensifies whatever the original problem was. Rather than trying to get back at a roomie who’s wronged you, have a conversation about what the problem is.
Address the issue sooner than later.
Timing is everything, the longer you wait to let your roommate know something they’re doing is seriously bugging you, the more resentment you’ll feel toward them — and the more ominous a confrontation will seem. So address the issue sooner rather than later. Let your roommate know firsthand that something is bothering you.
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Say it right.
Describe the facts, express how you feel, ask for what you want, be mindful. Don’t accuse your roommate of numerous wrongs when you’re confronting one issue. Try using a non-aggressive, gentle tone of voice during the process that doesn’t make your roomie feel like they’re being attacked. Putting them on the defensive only raises the tension between you. So watch what you say and say it right.
Repeat if necessary.
You may need to reiterate your request more than once during the first confrontation. So say it over and over again, don’t nag, let your roommate know that you are serious about your stance. This will most likely push him or her to take the necessary action.
Adjust the intensity of your requests accordingly.
Giving others the benefit of the doubt is often a good way to go about building relationships. But if gentleness isn’t helping you get your point across — or your roommate refuses to adapt her behavior in a way that makes your living situation bearable — increase the firmness of how you ask for what you want.
There you have it, five ways of dealing with a difficult roommate.
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