Whether your roommate is a friend or someone you’ve never met before, making the adjustment to living in close quarters can be difficult. The situation is worse if you and your roommate don’t get along. Since you’ll need to put up with each other for at least the rest of the semester, it’s important to take steps to resolve any problems you have before they become overblown.
1. Think About What You Could Do Differently
It’s easy to blame your roommate for everything wrong with your living situation, but you need to consider how you’re contributing. Just like your roommate has annoying habits, you most likely do things that bother your roommate without you even realizing it. In fact, you could be adding to the tension.
If you’re living with a complete stranger, another factor could be that you simply don’t know your roommate yet. You could be interpreting behaviour as hostile or unfriendly, when actually your roommate is just shy or feeling homesick. Give your roommate the benefit of the doubt and put in the effort to get to know one another. There’s no need to become friends, but life will be easier for both of you if you learn to get along.
2. Take Steps to Prevent Conflict
You’re going to have to deal with conflict no matter who you live with. You undoubtedly had conflicts with your parents and siblings when you lived in your family home. The conflicts you have with your roommate may be quite different, but that’s just because you come from different backgrounds. Always consider your role in any conflicts and what you could do to prevent problems in the future.
3. Spend Less Time in Your Apartment
You may find you’re getting on each other’s nerves simply because you’re around each other too much. Perhaps your roommate likes to lounge around in the living room for hours or spends a long time cooking every evening, making it difficult for you to use the kitchen. Instead of becoming frustrated, find ways to stay out of the house more. Perhaps you could visit friends, sign up for more activities at college, or find an opportunity to volunteer.
4. Have Conversations About What’s Bothering You
Resolving problems requires action from both of you — which means you need to communicate. It’s no good to expect your roommate to just know what to do. Worse still is leaving passive aggressive notes, such as to point out that something needs cleaning or to complain about your roommate’s guests.
Instead, you need to have sit-down conversations.
Start the conversation by pointing out that you want to get along and you need to know if you are doing anything that annoys your roommate. Give your roommate time to talk and make sure to listen carefully. Only then should you explain what’s bothering you. Together, you should figure out ways to resolve the issues.
It’s common to find that this first conversation goes much better than you may have expected. The fact is most college students want to have a pleasant living experience and are willing to work with their roommates to make it happen.
5. Vent to Someone
There may be some small things that bother you that you just need to put up with, especially if it would seem petty to ask your roommate to change. Alternatively, you may be stressed in general, which could mean the things your roommate does bother you irrationally. Venting to a friend can sometimes help, but an even better solution is to talk to a counsellor. A professional may have ideas you can use in your specific situation to make your life more comfortable.
You’re much less likely to have conflict with your roommate if you don’t share a bedroom. A great alternative to on-campus Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. You’ll have a private bedroom in a suite with a maximum of four other students and you’ll only need to share a bathroom with two other people at the most. Secure the floor plan you want by applying today.