Roommates’ guide to avoiding conflict

(Left to right) Seniors Hannah Graves, Mary-Callen Freeman, Anna Joy Seeger and Julianna Comstock live in their house called Something Blue. They said they chose to live together because they wanted a community of love and support. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

While living with other people, conflict is bound to rise up. People can’t always agree, but there are ways to find solutions and compromise.

Alycia McCormack, the assistant director for resident learning, said when students live in dorms on campus, they are given a roommate agreement, which can help them address some differences right off the bat. However, conflict can get trickier in off-campus housing.

“Confrontation can be challenging, but we encourage residents to start from a place of mutual respect, listening to understand one another and communicating honestly and early on,” McCormack said.

People living on campus have the opportunity to utilize community leaders as moderators in roommate conflicts if necessary.

Attempting to address the problem first without the CL is ideal, but Cypress senior Kailey Kolb said she wished she had taken advantage of her CL’s assistance when she lived on campus.

“I lived with that same person the next year, and then those problems carried into that year,” Kolb said. “And so then there was like a falling out because of it, and maybe if we had just had a chance to talk to each other and someone to mediate it that could have been prevented.”

McCormack said it is not only important to communicate when issues come up, but a preferred method of communication also needs to be addressed.

“We would also encourage residents to be forthcoming about what the issue is and speak directly to the impact on the person,” McCormack said. “Another important thing to consider is to address the behavior and not the person. In conflict resolution, it is important to address the issues directly, early and honestly from a place of respect and a desire to move forward.”

Kolb said sometimes it’s best to leave issues alone.

“If it’s in a situation where you just feel like that’s just not part of their living habits, and they’re not going to be able to really fulfill that, then there might be a time where you just have to let it go and not be too uptight about it,” Kolb said.

Baylor has a section about roommate issues on and off campus and advice on how to handle situations.

“Make a commitment to your roommates to work together in order to have the best living situation possible,” the website said. “Realize that negotiation and compromise are essential factors when living with someone. Share decisions and be sure you give compliments as freely as criticism.”