We’ve all been there. Your roommates or housemates did something to piss you off, whether they’ve “forgotten” to do their dishes four consecutive weeks in a row or left their dirty socks on the couch. Now you feel the need to take revenge — perhaps by putting their dirty plates in front of their doors. There’s a better way than these passive-aggressive inclinations — and since we at the Clog are so wise, we’ve listed some foolproof techniques to survive your first roommate fight.
Have a house meeting
House meetings are a great way to collectively discuss whatever disagreements have come up since moving in with each other. Plan to have house meetings at regular intervals so your issues don’t build up. At these meetings, make sure you let your roommates speak their mind and don’t talk over anyone. The key is to be respectful, like you’re talking to Oski on Game Day. This probably goes against everything you want to do when you feel like you’ve been wronged, but get over yourself. Sometimes you have to compromise, especially when you’re living with people who aren’t your family.
Sometimes it’ll be your fault
It’s hard for anyone to admit, but sometimes the disagreement will be your fault. The first thing you have to do is get over your ego. Seriously, you messed up and you need to admit that with an old-fashioned face-to-face apology. Look your roommates in the eye, apologize and then work together to fix the problem. By just admitting that you were at fault, you’ve buttered them up to have an open and productive conversation about what needs to change. And, if you buy them La Burrita (or Cheeseboard if you want to be fancy), you’ll be on their good side forever.
Make a chore chart
A lot of roommate disagreements come up because your roommates didn’t do their chores. A chore wheel, while transporting you back to elementary school, will also help the relationship between your housemates. Make sure there are as many sections on the chore chart as there are people in the house, and then choose a chore for each section. These chores can be as normal as “take out the trash” and “vacuum the living room,” or as specific as “make sure the house has enough stolen Golden Bear Cafe napkins to last the week.”
Don’t keep things in and voice your opinion
It’s easy to say that not talking about an issue will make it go away, but in reality, it’ll just fester inside of you until you explode. Honesty is the best policy, and you shouldn’t ignore the things that are upsetting you, especially if they’re happening in the place you now call home. It’s okay to tell your roommate that it frustrates you when they don’t do their dishes. They won’t hate you. They may be irritated, but at least they won’t ignore their chores anymore. And you can stop stealing plastic silverware from Free Speech Movement Cafe, because now you’ll have clean forks.
Set aside time for your roommates
Most of the time, you’ve carefully picked your roommates based on compatibility, so you expect to spend a little time with them. Don’t be the fly-by-night roommate that only uses the apartment as a place to sleep. The easiest way to build a good relationship and stop disagreements before they begin is to make yourself available to them. Even if it’s infrequent, going out to lunch or having weekly ShareTea dates together will help build a peaceful environment and ensure those arguments won’t happen at all.