"ANYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING TO US WITHIN OURSELVES - IF WE ARE HAVING MORE ANXIETY AND WORRYING, IF WE'RE HAVING MORE DIFFICULTY WITH FEELING SAD AND DOWN - THAT TENDS TO COME OUT IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE."
“It’s not just about the experience of what’s happening in the room, but it goes deeper to ‘this person doesn’t care about me,’” Lemmon said. “It becomes personally hurtful.”
If you do choose to actually address the conflict Lemmon suggested using “I” statements, instead of the accusatory “you” statements.
Before conflict even begins, it is important to set boundaries.
“‘I’ statements have to be about how the situation is affecting me,” Lemmon said.
“I think one of the important things would be having clear expectations and communicate those,” Boyd-Soisson said. “So anytime we can clearly communicate our expectation is important, because we might think that somebody knows what we expect or what we want but the reality of that is that they don’t.”
Rather than stating how your roommate is too messy for your liking, reflect on how that messiness is affecting you, telling them how the state of the room distracts from your studies.
Boyd-Soisson also suggested perception checking, addressing your roommate when you can tell something is wrong and being honest about your feelings. “Instead of building a pile and pile and pile of things that annoy us, deal with them as they come, instead of waiting until we’ve reached our limit and then there’s a huge explosion,” Boyd-Soisson said. When it comes to conflict, both Lemmon and Boyd-Soisson have certain tips, though not every situation merits the same response. It is important to first figure out whether or not to address the conflict.
Boyd-Soisson suggested that the listener of this conversation needs to also hear this address with respect and acceptance. “If you’re on the receiving end of it, can you listen? Can you accept how they feel? Can you take responsibility for your behavior?” Boyd-Soisson said. In cases where a person is reluctant to change or if the situation worsens, Boyd-Soisson mentioned bringing in a mediator, like an RD, to help to alleviate the situation. When it comes to roommate conflicts and resolutions, remember that there is not one solution for all situations. Hopefully these tips will help if you are on either end of a conflict.
“One of the toughest places is figuring out what’s more uncomfortable: the discomfort between the two of us (or the group of us) or the discomfort within myself?” Lemmon said.
THE SWINGING BRIDGE