If you’re fighting with your roommate, you end up feeling just as bad as fighting with your significant other, your best friend or your mom. When you’re living with someone – day-in, day-out – and you could cut the tension with a blunt knife, it can really get you down. Often, you can avoid fighting with your roommate by making sure you include these 4 house rules in your roommate agreement.
But when it’s too late, the house rules are being ignored, or the fight is about something else entirely, what can you do?
1. Before diving into conflict resolution, try self reflection
Firstly, try to take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Are you known for your stubbornness? Have you had a fight with friends in the past for a similar reason? You might be able to resolve the conflict by being honest with yourself and offering an apology.
If that’s not enough, let’s take a look at some potential reasons you’re fighting with your roommate.
2. You’re fighting with your roommate because of unacknowledged communication boundaries
“My roommate seems to be offended by nearly everything I say to him. How do I move forward so I can be comfortable in my apartment without having to be on guard around him?”
Whether you’re the offender or the offend-ee, it’s important to remember that everyone has different levels of sensitivities. So you should try to live in harmony by not pushing each other’s buttons.
If someone does feel like a personal attack has been made upon them, it’s healthy to discuss it. That way, both of you can learn the other’s boundaries to make “Home sweet home” a reality.
What should you do if you are the offender?
Once someone oversteps the mark, it’s on them to initiate the make-up conversation (even if they feel like they haven’t done anything wrong.)
Opening the talk with something like “I’m sorry you feel like…” will just make them more defensive, since you’re not taking ownership of the thing you said.
Instead, try “I’m sorry I offended you; I really didn’t mean to…” and give them the opportunity to accept your apology.
3. You’re fighting with your roommate over the house rules
There are certain (said or unsaid) house rules that you have to respect when living with roommates, that make sharing a house in NYC enjoyable. From paying rent on time, to keeping noise down at night and keeping the place clean, you might assume your roomi should automatically know how to behave.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. And when someone isn’t respecting expected house rules, it can lead to a blow-out amongst roommates. To avoid this, flag issues as and when they arise, using a calm and non-judgemental tone. Let your roommate know how everyone in the apartment is expected to act, and even apologize for not setting clear boundaries early on.
How should you address your issues in a polite way?
“Hey Sam, I’m sorry I didn’t let you know this before, but I have to wake up early for work/college. The walls in the apartment are really thin, so would you mind keeping the noise down after 10 p.m.? Your TV’s usually on pretty loud; maybe you could listen to it with earphones or on a lower volume?”
4. All things said and done
The majority of people would rather keep the peace in their living environment. And a simple conversation about the house rules will alert them to their behavior, so they’ll make an effort to improve.
However, if you’ve already tried this, and you’re still fighting with your roommate, make time to resolve it in a calm, public environment (such as a bar or cafe). You could also try bringing in a neutral third person who can offer an objective view and advice about how to proceed. (This doesn’t mean getting your friends involved just so they can take your side.)
Make separation your last resort
And if a roomi dispute cannot be solved, it might be best that you live apart. Speak to them before you make any concrete plans, since your desire to move might kick them into action to finally settle the fight.
In the end, whatever happens, take the situation and learn from it. And you might be able to spot roommate red flags much more easily in future!
D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers solve fights with roommates? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!