Did you wake up this morning to find a passive-aggressive sticky note waiting for you? Have you been giving your roommate the silent treatment because you are annoyed and she hasn’t even noticed? Maybe you’ve thrown a few passive-aggressive comments into your conversations lately? Roommate conflicts arise quite often. They are almost inevitable, but there are simple ways to resolve issues without breaking your roommate’s things or trying to poison them with Windex (I swear this really happened; it was in the news last year).
These solutions might seem quite obvious, but it is surprising how little they are used.
Clear the air.
This should always be your first step in conflict resolution. You may think you already know what the problem is, but sometimes the roommate is mad at something completely separate from what you are thinking. Sit down in a quiet environment and talk about it. It is as simple as “Hey, I’ve noticed that you have been annoyed with me. What am I doing wrong?” or “Hey, I don’t mean to annoy you, but your dirty dishes that have been in the sink for days really bother me, can you please clean them?”
Acknowledge your mistakes.
You need to take the responsibility for your actions. There is no need to make an excuse for why you are so loud getting ready while your roommates are sleeping. Apologize, and try to be more considerate in the feature.
Be a more courteous roommate.
Maybe your roommate is just a clean freak and is tired of the mess you make in the kitchen. They have every right to live in a clean apartment. But there are also a million other reasons that they might need the place to be clean, that you have never even thought about. For example, I am currently living with two of my best friends (Only for a few more weeks, yay! When people tell you not to live with your best friends, LISTEN. They are right.) Anyway… I have an immune system illness. Living in even a slightly unsanitary place, such as one with dirty dishes that have been left for days or floors that haven’t been cleaned in over a week, could be really detrimental for my health. This is something that my roommates often forget or don’t consider. It is understandable for something like this to slip your mind from time to time, but it is really important to make the effort to be considerate of the people you live with.
Maybe you don’t know about your roommates illness and you keep getting really annoyed that they ask you to take part in cleaning almost every day. But keep in mind that you never know what other people are suffering through, so please just do your best to be a great roommate and respect everyone’s wishes.
A few months back, one of my roommates and I clearly had some tension between us. I finally sat her down and asked her why she was upset. It turned out she felt I was being too loud in the morning when I got up for the gym. I apologized, and told her that I was tired of cleaning her dishes for her. We talked it out, and both promised to work on our issues.
I have worked on being more quiet, and she hasn’t had a problem since. She cleans her dishes fairly quickly, and if I ask her to, she will clean them on the spot. We are closer than ever now that we learned how to talk about our issues!
You are going to have multiple sources of tension in your apartment at times. All it takes is a discussion, and some effort, and things can be resolved.
What not to do.
I used to be the queen of passive-aggressive sticky notes, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Using notes to avoid the confrontation when you want your roommates to do something or to stop doing something, is not a great option. Your roommates will get annoyed, and you will have tension on your hands. The same goes for throwing passive-aggressive comments into your conversations. There is no reason to hint at what you are annoyed about, when you can just say it.
Don’t ignore your roommates request that you take out the trash every now and then, just because you don’t want to do it. You are a resident of the same apartment, so it is your responsibility as well.
Don’t get mad at your roommate because they simply wanted to talk out their issues with you. Be as receptive as possible, and use the time to build your relationship with that person.
And finally, please, whatever you do, don’t try to poison your roommate with household cleaning products. I can’t believe that needs to be said…