I. HATE. CONFLICT. I know it’s a part of life ESPECIALLY in college, and I’m finally starting to get used to it. Up until this point in my life, I’ve gotten really good at avoiding any type of confrontation. It’s bad, I’d rather be miserable than intrude on someone else’s life to talk about something that is bugging me. I’ve always been someone who puts my happiness behind that of others-(something I’m constantly working on) and coming to terms with conflict is a step in that uphill battle.
Confrontation is a part of life. It happens, all the time, and dealing with it in the right way can make it go as smooth as possible. In college, when you live with roommates, being comfortable with caring confrontation is key to a great living environment.
Pick your battles:
The twist tie that was left on the floor by your roommate-probably not important to confront her about. The dishes that have been in the sink for a week? Possibly a more pressing matter. (Or in my case, I just do the dishes…whoops. Don’t have me be your role model.) Let little things slide, but not so many that you are going to blow up one day over a straw wrapper on your desk. If it is something that bugs you enough to be talked about, set time aside to make sure it gets discussed instead of letting your resentment grow. If small things persist, kindly request that things be kept cleaner, making sure to use “we” statements instead of “you”. For example, “Can we try to keep the apartment cleaner?” rather than “Can you keep the apartment cleaner?” or even worse, “You need to keep the apartment cleaner.”
Know what you are going to say before you start the conversation. If it’s something that upset you a lot, make sure to take a breather before you confront someone about it. Conflict in the heat of the moment will often result in hurtful things being said that can create more damage than a solution.
Express the problem, how it makes you feel, and a solution. Don’t go into the conversation only expecting the other person to come up with a solution, and also be willing to modify your solution as needed. Stick to the facts and don’t make accusatory statements or be hurtful. “The dishes are making the kitchen smell, and I don’t like that. Can we try to be better about washing dishes when we make them?”
Listen to their side.
As a roommate, we often have conversations where I voice my issues and they voice theirs. Listen to things you are doing that might be bugging them as they often come up in the same conversation. Or they might even have a reason-like they were out of soap to do the dishes and didn’t know if it was okay to use yours. Once you confront someone, it’s also your responsibility to listen to their side rather than think they are completely at fault.
How do you deal with confrontation? Have you had to confront a roommate in college?