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Tips for Those Having Conflicts between College Roommates

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 5/13/2010

Conflicts between college roommates are not unique situations for it happens to many students. But rather then leave it to fester; the situation has to be fixed to make everyone happy in college.

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    Roommates

    The expectation of sharing a dorm or apartment with other young people is one of the most exciting prospects in college life. By the time you leave home, you should be realistic enough to consider the possibility that you and your roommate may not get along with each other. Then you will experience doubled stress and anxiety in adjusting to college work and facing conflicts between college roommates.

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    Tips to Avoid Conflicts between College Roommates

    1. Do not expect your roommates to become your best friends. You may differ in your likes and dislikes.

    2. Whether you like each other or not, the fact remains that you are roommates so you might as well learn to get along. Put yourself in your roommates' shoes to gain an understanding of their perspective.

    3. Do not leave things for granted, common sense or chance. On the first few days together discuss with your roommates all possible rules that will apply inside your dorm.

    4. The rules must be created and agreed upon by each roommate. Specific rules and considerations may include the following:

    • Pinpoint the specific area and space that you will consider your own, so that things will not mix up in the long run.
    • Always label your personal belongings. No one will take, use or borrow things without permission from the owner.
    • If there are bills to be paid, discuss if how you will divide the payment between you and your roommates.
    • Decide on how you will handle cleaning duties, whether you will clean your own area or make individual schedules to clean the whole room for everybody including the bathroom.
    • Also, make rules about allowing other friends (same or different sex) to come over and the amount of noise inside the room.
    • Set curfew for sleeping time during regular days and exam days.

    5. Keep the channels of communication always open. Communication is the key to successful living which is applicable inside the dorm with your roommates. You can even draw a roommate contract to document your agreement.

    6. Post the list of rules with your contract anywhere inside the room which can be visible enough for you and your roommates to be reminded of these often.

    7. Practice roommate etiquette which is based on the principle of the Golden Rule. Do to your roommates what you would want your roommates do unto you.

    8. Be proactive. Use intuition to sense what is taking place around you. If you feel that your roommate has a problem, make them aware that you are available to discuss any issues they may have.

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    Tips for Those Who Have Existing Conflicts between College Roommates

    The time may arrive when problems arise and they become unavoidable. Tips for those who have conflicts between college roommates include:

    1. Talk to your roommate ASAP. Do not expect problems to just fade away.

    2. If you are a group facing the conflict, call a meeting and confront the problem.

    3. An objective party might be useful. You can request the dorm resident assistant (RA) or a counselor’s assistance.

    4. If you have not yet executed a contract, you can prepare one and request the others to prescribe rules that all are willing to follow.

    5. Ask each one to keep the problem within your group otherwise it becomes campus news.

    6. When conflict is resolved then get along with your lives and avoid this problem to occur for a second time.

    If the problems are getting worse despite all the efforts to resolve the conflicts between college roommates, then, it is best for you to move out and talk to your head officer or dorm manager to transfer you into a different room.

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    Sources

    • How to Do Things: http://www.howtodothings.com/family-relationships/how-to-avoid-conflicts-with-your-roommate-over-bill-payment
    • Quazen: http://quazen.com/kids-and-teens/college-life/seven-tips-to-avoid-roommate-problems-in-college/
    • Video Jug: http://www.videojug.com/interview/negotiating-house-rules-with-your-new-roommate-2