Having roommates is not all that different from living with family, or even being married, you are bound to disagree and argue, making conflict resolution key to resolving roommate conflict.
There are five basic strategies for conflict resolution: accommodation, avoidance, compromise, competition, or collaboration.
Conflict Resolution With Accommodation
Accommodation is a great way to resolve roommate conflict if preserving your relationship is more important than the issue at hand. This is a good strategy in a situation where perhaps an issue has been blown out of hand. If the fundamental cause of the disagreement really isn’t that important, and you and your roommate are just arguing for arguments sake, sometimes it is better to just give in.
Conflict Resolution With Avoidance
Avoidance does not work to solve all issues. Again, this is an option for conflict resolution if an issue has blown out of hand. For example, if you and your roommate started arguing about something small, like dirty dishes left in the sink, and it spiraled into a much larger argument, simply avoiding each other and the issue for awhile may make it go away. This is not recommended when the point of disagreement is something important.
Conflict Resolution With Compromise
If you and your roommate are close, then compromising over the issue is a great solution. A great way to start the compromise approach is for each of you to write down your opinions on the issue, and exchange notes. Being able to get your feelings out without being interrupted can often lead to a more promising discussion. If each of you gives a little, you each get a little.
Conflict Resolution With Competition
Maybe you have bad roommates, and all or one of them did something terrible. It may be best to stand strong to your point, and not give in. Beware, however, that use of competition to resolve conflict is not recommended if you want to remain roommates.
Conflict Resolution With Collaboration
Perhaps the issue causing conflict has no one correct answer. Sit down and discuss the issue. Maybe you and your roommate can come up with a solution that takes into account what you both want. This is often difficult to achieve, but if it works, then that’s great!
Of all the methods of conflict resolution, the one most fitting in most situations is to compromise with your roommate. Usually the bigger picture is more important than the smaller issue of the argument, and you will find that if you work together, you not only preserve your relationship, but you resolve the issue.
Emily Gojko: I am a writer, marketer, and manager with a strong background in real estate development and management. I am also a native New Yorker with an obsession for home design shows, so I have personal and professional experience making the most of small spaces, and dealing with good and bad living situations.