It is not necessary for your roommate to be your best friend, but it is necessary that you respect one another. It is essential that lines of communication be developed and remain open with your roommate. Being assertive means standing up for your own rights without violating the rights of others.
Often times, it helps to talk about other types of experiences that a person has had before talking about what expectations each roommate has of the other. After opening up the lines of communication, roommates find it easier to talk about what they want to see happen in the room. Remember, the more effort you make to spend quality time with your roommate in these discussions, the easier it will be to mediate conflict if it arises during the year.
Discover Each Others' Expectations
One of the first steps in building an effective roommate relationship is to talk about expectations for both yourself and your roommate. This will help you avoid potential problems and conflicts.
- Discuss religious beliefs and personal values that might impact your expectations.
- Discuss ways to resolve conflicts when they happen.
- Establish roommate expectations, such as:
- Housekeeping duties - decide how you will divide duties such as taking out the trash, cleaning the room, etc.
- Phone use - figure out how late people can call so it doesn't wake the other person, and any other issues related to phone use.
- Ideal sleeping and studying conditions - talk about when lights should be turned out, when it is o.k. to make noise, etc.
- Guests - discuss having guests over during sleeping, studying hours, etc., and whether overnight guests. (Opposite gender guests are not permitted.).
- Sharing - talk about how comfortable each person is with sharing belongings and when explicit permission is required.
- Other issues - discuss any other issues that seem important or that might need to be clarified.
A conflict exists when two parties perceive that they have mutually exclusive goals - that is, the satisfaction of one goal is incompatible with the satisfaction of the other. Conflict can be positive when all participants are satisfied with some part of the outcome. It is not positive if the participants leave with hostile attitudes or mistrust and defensiveness toward one another.
A constructive conflict situation is characterized by:
- Constructive spirit and friendly attitude
- Open and honest communication
- A non-threatening atmosphere
- Some degree of satisfaction and resolution for all parties
A destructive conflict is characterized by.
- Lack of communication
The Proper Channels
- First, attempt to discuss the matter among yourselves and come to a mutually agreeable solution.
- Failing this, ask your Dormitory student assistant to serve as a mediator in your discussion so that a solution can be reached.
- If a solution is not reached, the Dormitory student assistant will bring the grievance to the Dormitory Director.