Unfortunately, living with a roommate isn’t always a smooth experience. Like any relationship, you’re going to have disagreements and conflicts. Whether it’s about dirty dishes, cleaning common areas, or paying the rent on time, roommate problems need to be handled with finesse. Otherwise, you could be having issues for the rest of the lease term.
Here are a few tips on how you can deal with roommate problems before they escalate:
Address the problem early.
Calmly point out problems when you first begin to notice them. This can help with avoiding blowing up at your roommate from pent up anger.
Use “I” language instead of “You” language.
This is a common technique used in conflict resolution. Don’t start your sentences with “You”. This can be interpreted as you attacking your roommate, causing him or her to become defensive. Instead, start your sentences with “I” to change the tone. For instance, rather than saying “You need to wash the dishes,” you could say, “I need to use the sink soon, so could you please wash the dishes?”
If your roommate isn’t very diligent about taking out the trash, maybe you should strike up a deal instead of complain. Think of solutions of ways you can compromise the chores and responsibilities around the apartment. For example, you could take out the trash while your roommate vacuums every week.
Create a roommate agreement.
Sometimes verbally communicating responsibilities isn’t enough. Roommate agreements are a formal document that spells out responsibilities and expectations. Include commonly disputed issues such as how rent is split, chores, overnight guests, and roommate move outs. Each roommate must agree to these terms for it to work best. When one of these issues arise, you can use the agreement to help settle the issue.
Image by bobjudge via Flickr.