Unfortunately, not everyone in your world is going to think the same way you do, whether it be about beliefs, politics, or how often you should clean the house. In life, and definitely in college, we are presented with so many different people and opportunities that help us grow. Growing isn’t always
comfortable, especially when it’s your roommates pile of dishes in the sink, but it has its place in life. While it is good to vent to your besties, often this doesn’t actually fix the issue, but what can you do when actually addressing the issue may lead to confrontation and hurt feelings? Here are 6 tips to help make messy conversations a little less messy, and how to improve communication instead of confrontation.
1.) Decide if the issue is actually an issue
Some things bother us, but before we start complaining about every little thing, ask yourself if it’s an actual issue or if you’re just having a bad day. If it really upsets, offends, or compromises you- definitely address it. If you just woke up grumpy because you have a 7:30 AM, maybe give yourself some time to relax and look at the situation after a cup of coffee!
2.) Go in to the conversation intending to improve situations and relations
I get it, I’m a woman and I do it too- sometimes you just want to argue. You don’t even want to be right and there may not even be anything actually wrong, but boy doesn’t it just annoy you when they don’t fight back. My poor boyfriend (God bless him) understands this completely, and he’ll just stop arguing- and he’ll actually try to fix the problem (how dare he). I wish I was more like that, and I try to be. While arguing is okay and it does let off steam, if there is an actual issue- address it with the intent of fixing it. Conversations are about communication and communication is about correction. It is possible to fix the problem without stepping on toes, if
you are intentional.
3.) Don’t outright blame the other person
The best relationship advice I’ve ever gotten has to do with arguing. When arguing instead of using vindictive language, use personal language. For example: instead of saying “you’re so disgusting, you never pick up after yourself” try saying, “I know I’m a bit of a neat freak, but it really stresses me out when the house isn’t clean, can you help me pick up?” Instead of blaming the other person, accept the responsibility of having the problem and ask for their help to fix it. People are much more responsive when they aren’t on the defensive!
4.) Genuinely listen to their side of the story
Like I said earlier, not everyone is or thinks the same. While it is important for you to say what you have to say, it is just as important for them to say what they need to say. Communication is a two-way street. If they feel safe and important in the conversation, they will also feel safe and important in listening to your side too.
5.) State your case in a calm and respectful way
I have never met anyone who can read my mind, that being said, I have never read anyone’s mind. This means that if you have an issue, you have got to say so! The other person is never going to know there is an issue if you keep it bottled up or if you vent to other people. I am the worst at sharing my feelings, but if it’s not a big enough deal for me to say something- then it must not be that big of a deal. This takes practice, but be honest. Be calm and respectful and most people will respect this. They can’t fix it if they don’t know, but just be mindful of how you
would like to be told “hey man I have a problem with the way you are doing something.” No one likes to be wrong and no one likes to be called out, so be kind.
6.) Leave this between you two- and leave it in the past
After a conversation happens, after a conclusion has been made. That’s it. If it has been handled, it’s been handled. Leave it between y’all two and leave it in the past.