Have you scheduled a time to sit down with your roommates lately?
School has been in session for a while now, and there is definitely something bothering you about your living situation. Are the dishes piling up in the sink? What about that music that your roommate blasts when she’s writing essays? The blonde hair clogging the shower drain is getting nasty and you aren’t blonde. Whatever the little nagging issue may be, it’s time to address it.
Text your group chat right now. Tell your roommates that you want to schedule a day and time for all of you to sit down together and discuss anything and everything related to your living situation. Did you text them? Good job! Now that you have the time and place, here’s how you can make sure this conversation is honest but respectful.
Give everyone an opportunity to bring up anything small that is bothering them.
Each person should be able to share how they are feeling without interruption. Hold any comments or questions until they are completely done speaking. When they have finished talking, be aware of any defensive comebacks. Consider the other person’s feelings, not your immediate reaction to their comment. Remember that the issues brought up are not a direct reflection of yourself, rather a behavior that can be changed.
Consider how to compromise in order to adjust to the issues mentioned.
Now that everyone has shared how they are feeling regarding minor issues or inconveniences, it’s time to problem-solve. You will not always win every argument so, you must be willing to compromise, especially on small matters. Try to find a middle ground that satisfies both parties. In the case of dirty dishes in the sink, adjust your timeframe on how quickly they must be washed. If they have been sitting there by the end of the week, ask to have all the dishes done by the end of the day. Be reasonable and calm when negotiating ideas.
Tackle one big problem per meeting.
Once the smaller issues have been resolved, go ahead and breach one big problem that your room is running into. For example, if a roommate is taking other people’s food without asking, this is the time to confront them. When tackling large points of conflict, remember to be respectful of everyone’s emotions. There is no need to raise your voice or be rude and sarcastic. Instead, try putting yourself in the perspective of the other person before you confront them. How would you want someone to treat you if you were on the receiving end? Be kind, however, make sure you still calmly articulate how the issue must be resolved.
End with an emotional check-in.
Sitting down with all of your roommates can be exhausting, and it is healthy to do a check-in at the end of the meeting. To de-escalate any high-strung emotions, invite each person to share how they are feeling about the discussion that just took place; listen without interrupting. Another way to check in with your roommates’ feelings is to ask how their week has been. Both options are a good transition back into a normal conversation.
Good job! You have successfully navigated a roommate meeting. In order to keep up honest communication with them, try to check in on a monthly basis. Even though it can be emotionally draining or scary to be so straightforward, it is worth the extra effort in order to maintain a healthy environment in your room.