You and your roommate are not going to see eye to eye on everything. For that reason, you need to know how to amicably handle a dispute. That way, no one’s feelings get hurt, no one threatens to move out on the other, and no grudges are formed. Knowing how to disagree respectfully is among the most important skills you’ll learn as an adult.
Here’s how to amicably handle a dispute with your roommate:
- Don’t play the Blame Game. The fastest way to shut down a conversation is to point fingers. People become defensive when they feel like they’re being attacked. Even if you don’t think you’re saying anything to offend them, you could very well be doing just that in their mind. When having a conversation with your roommate, do so in a private location so you both can sit and talk openly.
- Allow everyone an opportunity to speak. Give yourself a few minutes before calling a truce and getting together to meet about whatever issue is bothering you. Resolution is seldom achieved in the heat of the moment. Give your roommate time to speak and relay what he or she perceives to have happened.
- Use “I” statements. When it is your time to speak, use “I” statements. Don’t say “You”. For example, say “I feel upset when I see unwashed dishes in the sink and they’re still there when I get home from work.” By letting the other person know how you feel, you’re able to come up with a resolution faster.
People’s opinions and habits differ, and that’s okay. If you acknowledge one another’s feelings and attempt to come to a decision that benefits both parties, you’ll have peace in your living environment. Living with roommates isn’t something that everyone can do easily. If you let your pride get the best of you, it can make the smallest dispute seem like a big deal.