You put your key in the door, rest your hand on the knob and let out a deep sigh before entering. You know that your roommate is lurking somewhere in the darkness with a snide remark that insinuates a bone they have to pick with you, without actually picking it with you. Sharing your space is always a challenge. You might think you could win a million dollars on a game show called, “How Well Do you know your Roommate,” but even the most solid of roommate relationships can be turned upside down if one or both parties have an issue with passive-aggression.
There’s nothing like living in a hostile environment. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your roommate can be as intense of a learning experience as beginner’s ballroom dancing with a complete stranger (yes, that awkward and uncomfortable). Taming the beast you call roomie can be difficult if you’re not equipped to battle the lion in our life.
Passive-aggressive people know exactly how to express their resentment in a way that round house kicks you in the face without any warning. You know, the silent treatment that makes you question if you’re now a ghost who hasn’t gotten the memo about your transition to the afterlife. Or maybe you’re familiar with the roommate that deliberately blasts music on a Saturday morning, knowing it’s your only day to sleep in? Besides making you feel completely taken aback by the treatment you probably didn’t deserve, it also creates an environment that, for some people, is hard to resolve.
Passive-aggressive people are unable to see that the solutions to most of their problems lie within themselves. People exhibiting this type of behavior often suffer from, “the world revolves around me” syndrome with a splash of sensitivity and fear of confrontation. Instead, they solve their issues with subtle, often irritating actions in a failed attempt to speak their mind. They don’t understand that they are the ones in control of their happiness and it starts by making a conscious choice to face their problems head on.
Wait does this sound like you? Well, let’s just kill two birds with one stone then—whether you are the aggressor or the aggressed, it’s time to learn how to deal with this type of behavior. Confrontation: the big C word. “But I hate confrontation”, you’re probably moaning, and yes it can be uncomfortable, but it’s the core to dealing with passive-aggressive roommates.
Start the Conversation
Practice in your mirror if you have to. Set the atmosphere. I don’t mean candles and champagne (although it might be a nice touch). Create a climate of security that they can talk to you about anything.
TIP: As tempting as it is, don’t turn to social media to rant. I promise; it won’t end well.
You can’t fight fire with fire. If your roommate is being passive-aggressive, don’t exhibit the same behavior. Sounds easy enough, right? But how do you move on from here?
Be Specific and Practice Being Assertive
Now is not the time to beat around the bush. You’ve gotten past the hardest part. Speak your mind. What is it that you want to know and what do you need to get out of this conversation in order to resolve the issue at hand?
Be Understanding of Your Roommates Perspective
No matter what the answer is, consider it. Even if it seems irrational, respect his or her feelings. You won’t get any further if you don’t at least try to put yourself in the other persons shoes.
Often passive aggressive behavior is hurtful to the person on the other end.
People will only treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Make sure your roommate understands what is appropriate and what isn’t during your discussion.
Ask for Suggestions on How to Solve the Problem
Passive-aggressive people like feeling in power. Don’t be a pushover, but allow them to have their rightful opinion on how to hash things out. Once the ice has been broken, often passive-aggressive people can talk out their problems in a respectful way.
Roommates need three things: open communication, trust and boundaries. Start working toward patching up your relationships and make your home a happy place to live.