Bad Roommate: How to Improve Communication

in Roommates on by

Having a bad roommate brings a number of challenges and can be even harder when the two of you aren’t communicating as well as you could be. Maybe you’ve started to notice that she hasn’t been pulling her weight or that she does things that are rude and disrespectful. The obvious next step is to address it, but we all know that the hardest part of any relationship can be talking about the situation. However, it’s important to establish open lines of communication and resolve issues quickly and early on. Keeping feelings locked up can lead to even more problems.

It’s easy to let a bad roommate consume your life. After a couple of bad moves, everything becomes annoying. From loud phone conversations to dishes left in the sink, you start to fixate on her every step.  It starts to become all-consuming-it’s what you talk about, text about, and can’t stop thinking about. Aside from being unhealthy, the reality is that you are most likely locked into a lease and communicating is the most practical solution.

Easy Ways to Communicate Around the Apartment

There are several ways to communicate around your apartment. A sticky note is a friendly way to leave a reminder and get a task started. For example, if a roommate doesn’t proactively clean, post a note like this, “Hey, I’m going to mop the floor today, want to tackle the bathroom? Text me!”

A dry erase board is a fun way to share things; maybe one day it’s chore-duty and the next is an invite to your friend’s happy hour. If you want to get creative, there’s chalkboard paint that can be found at any hardware store.

How to Confront Your Roommate

It’s best to confront your roommate as soon as a situation arises.  Do this in person because it’s hard to understand tone in an email or note, and it can easily be taken out of context. Start with stating the problem and letting your roommate know how you feel. Try to be specific with facts so it’s harder to contest what you are saying.

Be sure to not attack your roommate or nit pick, as this will make you lose focus and seem petty. Always offer a solution, and see if there are ways to work together. At the end of the conversation, recap what you’ve talked about so both of you are on the same page.

Ways to Move Forward

Think of ways to move forward in the relationship. Have check-ins with one another at the beginning of the month when you pay bills. You may even want to try movie night or go out to dinner to make it less stressful and fun!

These simple ideas can turn a bad roommate into a good one in no time. Just remember that relationships are always evolving, and the only way for them to grow is to open the lines of communication.

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