Dear Green & Gold: How to handle conflict with your roommate

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Dear Green and Gold,
My roommate and I aren’t getting along very well, and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time around her. What should I do?
Green says:
First, know that you are not the only one who struggles with this. Midterms is when a lot of people start to realize that they don’t like their roommate(s).
When I hear people talking about roommate problems to their peers, they all usually have one thing in common— lack of communication.
It doesn’t do you or your roommate any good if you don’t talk to them about how you’re feeling. And I don’t mean leaving passive aggressive notes around the room or subtweeting them.
Ask them if they have time to sit down so that both of you can have a conversation and give each other your full attention. If you approach it like this it comes off less confrontational and you both are less likely to get defensive.
During this conversation, I would suggest you talk about your roommate contract that you filled out when you moved in together. If you didn’t fill one out, even if you live off campus, I strongly suggest you do.
Going over your contract again, or filling one out, allows you a second chance to discuss what you both would like to see in each other and what that looks like in your eyes. Honestly, the more specific you are in your contract the better.
If you aren’t able to talk to your roommate because the two of you can’t agree on a time or you don’t feel comfortable talking to them alone, talk to a Residence Life staff member. They are trained to help with these situations and can provide you with some resources.
Gold says:
Roommate issues are honestly some of the worst. It’s hard living with someone you’ve never met before. Not only are you trying to navigate who you are during this time, but you also have to try and figure out who this stranger is. So here are my main two tips from a passive, nonconfrontational point of view.
Tip No. 1: Be honest. Personally, I respect people way more if they’re honest with me about what I’m doing to upset them rather than them not saying anything, talking behind my back, and then finding out later from a third party. It is much easier to just be honest.
Now, that doesn’t give you a free ticket to list all of their flaws and imperfections you think they have, but be communicative right from the start about things that you’re comfortable and uncomfortable with. Your feelings have meaning and are important to address. It’s also important that you establish a healthy environment of open communication and honesty.
Tip No. 2: Get out of your dorm room.
If being honest with your roommate isn’t working, one of the best ways to forget about those issues is to spend time outside of the room itself.
I used to go to the library to work on homework, work out, go to coffee shops, hang out with other friends in their rooms, go on walks, and go to the movies to decompress. It would help me forget about everything going on with my roommate, and I would actually have a ton of fun. You really only have to go back to the dorm when you’re ready for bed.
If that doesn’t sound good to you, another thing I would do was put some headphones in and either listen to music or watch Netflix if I really wanted to hang out in my room.
I know that living with someone you barely know is tough. Sometimes personalities just don’t mix, and that’s ok. It’s kind of like having co- workers. You might not get along with all of them, but you ultimately have to come together to meet your goals and to have a healthy work environment. I like to think of having roommates in the same way. Sure, it’s frustrating when they’re living space isn’t as clean as yours or they simply live a totally different lifestyle than you. However, remember that you’re one tough cookie. Living with this person is only tempo-
rary, and I promise things will get better. Take care of yourself and focus on you.
Don’t let your living situation dim your light.
P.S. Please reach out to your RA or any Residence Life staff members if you really need to talk to someone about what’s going on.
green and gold

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