November 5th, 2007 Jamie
Want to know what to do if your roommate is driving you up the wall? A couple of posts ago, I wrote about how NOT to handle roommate problems. So now that you know what not to do, here are a few steps you should take:
- Get Ready to Talk it Out. Bringing up any kind of problem with your roommate can be really hard, especially if you don’t know each other very well. Unfortunately, talking is a must if you want anything to get resolved. Remember to be nice instead of accusing, and to choose your words carefully. You want to get a result, not get your roommate all angry and defensive.
- Fix the Biggest Problem First. Choose the one thing your roommate is doing that you absolutely cannot stand–start there, and be nice! Do NOT start the conversation by bringing up a list of things that drive you nuts. Your roommate will either be hurt or angry, and that will make him/her unlikely to want to work things out with you. Save the little stuff for later.
- Review the Ground Rules. If you took my advice in September, you have already set some ground rules with your roommate that both of you agreed on. (And if you haven’t, now might be a good time to do this.) If one of you isn’t following the ground rules, talk about them and see if you need to revise them.
- Consider All the Options. Most problems have multiple solutions. If one solution doesn’t work for one of you, see what other options you can come up with. The first solution may not always be the best for both of you. For example, if you can’t concentrate on studying while your roommate is on the phone, you could:
- Agree to take phone calls in the hall, common room, or some area away from your room
- Agree on “quiet hours” when the room is reserved for studying
- Study somewhere else, like in your dorm’s common area or at the library
Remember, it is crucially important to avoid being accusing. Try to make the conversation about how both of you can make the situation better–if your roommate has to abide by a rule, make sure you are clear that you will do it, too.
I’ll be posting soon about what to do if your roommate really isn’t working out. Don’t miss it!
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Entry Filed under: roommates