Editor-in-Chief: Sonya LaRae
Editor: Nile Harper
Article By: Sonya LaRae-Certified Relationship/Lifestyle Coach, Certified Image Consultant
Photographs: Google.com Animated Roommates
Question: This is my freshman year in college and I’m thrilled to be here and having this experience. My issue is with my new roommate that I was assigned when I checked into the dorms.. She’s sweet but, she borrows my clothes without asking, all of my hair tools, my food and now she even has started taking my supplies. I spoke to my mother and she stated she will have a talk with her next month when she visits, but I wanted to see your thoughts. Signed Roommate Troubles
Hello Roommate Troubles, thank you so much for writing in. I first want to get to something very important that I noticed in your email. You stated that your mother is coming next month to speak with YOUR roommate regarding this issue-but, you came to a college away from home so you can start being, acting and developing your adult personality so, having your mother handle this issue isn’t showing your maturity or growth.
Roommate Troubles, the issue is that when you moved into your new domain you didn’t set clear boundaries with this person. I mean college is the best time of your life where you are going to be shaping and developing your life and even learning how to handle conflicts correctly (needless to say you will fall short in this area at times). I want to give you a few tips that you can use immediately to gain the respect and place the proper boundaries with your current/future roommates:
1. Scheduling Time: Being that you have already neglected to set things in place you will need to have this conversation now. You don’t want to blind side your roommate so, I would say you’d like to set up a date and time for you two to have a real conversation regarding a few important matters. Make sure you put it in your schedule as well as your roommate and stick to it-This way you are just piecing a conversation together or missing some of the most important points that need addressing. This will give you time to put your thoughts together and will help you to come off calm and approachable.
2. Roommate Agreement: Roommate Agreements are something I really encourage all of my young clients to think about, and to establish, so both parties understand what the other roommate is willing to accept from what they aren’t willing to accept. Roommate Agreements, are easy and they don’t have to be heavy, you need to state regarding community property to personal-This way both parties are very clear on what can be used and what shouldn’t be used i.e. food, clothing, personal belongings to schedules of replacing used items that are communal.3. Be Honest: Honesty is your best policy- I know that you have heard this many times and may feel like well, I don’t want to hurt their feelings.. Needless to say if you aren’t honest and you end up getting into a heated conversation with your roommate that truth will bubble forth with such force that you will probably never be friends with each other again. Put your feelings on the table with your roommate so they understand how you feel and be willing to listen and hear how they may feel- it could be as simple as a misunderstanding because boundaries weren’t ever set.
4. Be Open to Compromise: I know you have true hard and fast rules that are totally non-negotiable, but you have to give a little to get a little. Meaning some of your rules may need to have some flexibility because, each person has certain things they are willing to change and do but, if it all comes off one sided the other person may not be so willing to compromise on a few smaller issues that you are neglecting to handle or do. Be open to communication and don’t be afraid to revisit things if the need arises.
5. Do NOT BE PETTY: OMG!! I cannot stress the importance of this matter if it’s small and not really worth mentioning please become the duck in the relationship and let it roll off your back.. My grandmother and mother always said this statement to me “Pick your battles wisely NOT all battles are worth fighting” and I’ve carried that statement with me throughout my personal and professional life.
Roommate Troubles, I truly hope this has been helpful and I hope that you can step up to the plate. Handling conflicts properly is the first step in any young adult growing into that more mature, reasonable and functional adult. You’ll see you are going to have other issues that will arise that you’ll need to stand on your own two feet and not hide behind your mom. Wishing you so much success in everything!
Give us your feedback: How would you handle conflict with your roommate that isn’t respecting your boundaries? We cannot wait to hear your thoughts.
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