Surefire Strategies for Resolving Roommate Problems

Three girl roommates laughing and enjoying breakfast togetherLife with a roommate is complicated. Sure, splitting rent and chores can be awesome, but life à la roommates can quickly turn as sour as the carton of milk they simply won’t throw out. Maybe they’re always eating your food, never take the trash out, or can’t seem to pay their portion of the rent on time (uh, THAT’S a problemo!). Whatever the case may be, roommate troubles can really suck the enjoyment out of spending time in your apartment. Address your roommate problems with these surefire strategies for resolving roommate conflicts with less stress and more success!

Make sure you understand what’s actually grinding your gears.

Is this a problem with your roommate, or something that’s in your own control? Common roommate issues often stem from differing opinions that aren’t recognized early on. The state of cleanliness, use of common space, home decor around the holidays, and visitor etiquette are all conflicts that can be avoided by setting ground rules the day you move in.

Get creative with your solutions.

Of course, some issues (such as paying rent or “borrowing” personal possessions), might require a more strict form of intervention like a landlord or lawyer. If this is an issue that can be resolved without serious intervention, try to curb the conflict by laying out ground rules. Think about creating a chore chart, setting quiet hours, or establishing communication steps for having guests over. It may seem trivial, but you’ll be grateful if a conflict does arise.

Still not convinced? Consider this: if you guys have different definitions of “clean,” you probably also have differing opinions on the concept of “common courtesy” in general. Talk about it right away to avoid bigger arguments later on.

When a more complex conflict does arise, know how to confront it head-on.

Establish a good time for both you and your roommate, when you are able to arrive with a calm, level mind. Set out to understand the intentions of the resolution and clearly explain the issue at hand. Be direct but don’t attack your roommate’s personality; focus on specific behaviors instead.

Understand you might have to address your roommate’s problems in order to resolve your own. The best outcome is a win-win for both parties. Try to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution rather than focusing only on what you want the outcome to be. Keep in mind that negotiation is the best strategy for conflict resolution, with COMPROMISE being the word of the day. Avoid the temptation to coerce your roommate into an agreement with force or threats—that’s a game no one wins.

Some roommate problems can be resolved. Some can’t. If your roommate troubles have you stumped, it might be time to move on and find a new apartment. Apartment searching doesn’t have to be complicated: use ApartmentSearch to find apartments and get a $200 reward!