Ah, bad roommates. At some point in our lives, we will probably all have a bad roommate. It will either be our friend that we never imagined was so messy, the relative that has an unbelievable disregard for privacy or the stranger that moved in when we were completely desperate. Either way, every roommate cannot be perfect, so when things get to be too unlivable, it becomes necessary to confront the other person. Of course there is a right and a wrong way to do this, and the wrong way can make things much, much worse (if that’s even possible), so here are some tips to make this more of a friendly discussion than a confrontation:
1.) Pick the right place and time. Don’t bombard your roommate at 2:00 in the morning just as they walk in the door from an all-night study session during finals week. Instead, schedule a time in the future to talk about the issues. And don’t worry about keeping it all secretive; chances are your roommate knows you both need to talk too. A good idea is to schedule it for a time when the both of you can relax, like Friday night after you both get home from work. That’ll give you the chance to talk things through and then even go out for a beer afterward.
2.) Say what you need to say. There is no point in having this discussion if you just casually browse over your points. If you’re upset about something, you need to address it. Otherwise, they might not even know it’s a problem, will keep doing it, and this meeting will have been completely useless. If you need to make a list, do that; just so long as you find a way to say what you need to say.
3.) Listen. Every story has too sides. Maybe they never load the dishwasher because they have no idea how a dishwasher works. No matter how silly it may sound, you have no idea what their backstory may be. Allow them a chance to explain their behavior, and then don’t get defensive if they have a few problems with your behavior as well. You’re not perfect either, you know.
4.) Be ready to compromise. Living with another person means you aren’t always going to get your way. However, you both can meet in the middle, so be ready to give a little bit in one area in order to get a little in another.
5.) Plan something for after. Some talks are better ended when each person goes their separate way for a night (which is completely understandable) and some conversations are best ended when each roommate goes out for a beer and gets over the whole thing. Planning for something to do will give you a way out either way, you just have to choose whether or not to invite them after your talk.
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