How to resolve roommate conflicts like a pro

How to resolve roommate conflicts like a pro

Roommate conflicts. Like night gives way to day, a tiff or disagreement with your roommate is bound to happen.

You could be living in a flat in Mumbai. You could be living in a PG in Delhi. You could be sharing a room in a hostel in Bangalore. You could even have Mother Teresa as your roommate. And you’re still bound to get on each other’s nerves at some point or the other.

But when those conflicts arise, you will have to channel your inner Mother Teresa to resolve it. A shouting match won’t make things more peaceful. 

Here are some tips.

1. Sign a roommate agreement

The purpose of the roommate agreement is to put out a fire before it is even lit. Basically, you won’t have the trouble of your roommate playing loud music late at night, because you both agreed to wear headphones post 9 pm. Of course, it doesn’t have to be only about music. Guests, cleanliness and any other issue you except to crop up can be dealt with right at the beginning.

But when a disagreement does arise…

2. Talk, don’t scream.

If you’ve ever watched an Indian primetime news debate, you probably know that nothing good comes from out-yelling the other party. What does lead to a solution is sitting across a table and peacefully discussing what’s bothering the both of you and coming to a solution that works for both parties.

But to arrive at a solution, you must…

3. Compromise

It takes two to make a quarrel. Or, in this case, it takes two headstrong roomies to make a long drawn out conflict. And it will last even longer if you pin all the blame on the other. So before you point any fingers, think of what you might have done that caused your roommate to behave in a way that bothered you. Maybe they’re not respecting the no-guest rule because you broke the no-TV-past-midnight rule?

Now that you’ve corrected your flaws, you must…

4. Be assertive

Being flexible doesn’t mean letting the other person stretch all boundaries. Your peace of mind is as important as theirs. And while it’s the exception, there are people who will take advantage of your kindness. 

So if you have a roommate who’s not willing to budge even though you have, a good option is to… 

5. Get a mutual friend to help out

If what you want to say to your roomie is said by a third person, it’s more likely to make an impact. Yes, it might seem like your voice is not being valued – but you have to decide what’s more important for you – getting your roomie to say you’re right or getting your roomie to behave the way that makes your life easier? 

But while this and all the other tips are good ways to avoid and resolve conflicts with your roommate, there is one tip that rules them all. And that is…

6. Being a good roommate yourself

Respect your roommate’s choices, don’t take their property without asking and make accommodations whenever possible. Often you just need to set a good example for your roommate to follow. And sometimes you can also learn from their good behaviour. 

Remember, you don’t just walk into a great relationship with your roommate. It’s a long journey with twists and turns that both of you have to cover together.