Common Flatmate Problems and How to Handle Them

Bunking up with a flatmate is a quintessential college experience everyone should have. For better or worse, this is a powerful learning opportunity. Don’t panic if your roomie relationship isn’t blissfully smooth. Most people will encounter occasional issues when confined to close quarters. Try a few tricks to respectfully address the following conflicts and find effective solutions.

You Have Different Standards of Cleanliness

Everyone has their own idea of clean. It’s important to establish guidelines as early as possible on this issue so you don’t fall into bad habits. This is a fairly easy topic to address when you bring it up respectfully. Sit down and decide which chores you’re each responsible for and how often you’ll do them. Draft a quick list detailing how you’ll split the cleaning duties, and keep it somewhere you can both see for easy reference.

If your roommate is slacking on his or her responsibilities, offer a gentle reminder. Don’t let your frustration simmer while the mess worsens. This is a topic you should always speak up on.

You Keep Opposite Schedules

College classes and activities take place at all hours of the day or night. If you and your roommate are on opposite school schedules, you may find that you’re struggling to sleep through study sessions while your roomie tosses and turns as you go through the morning routine. Discuss the hours that you’d each like quiet and find ways that you can better accommodate each other. Try studying in the common room after certain hours or taking your blow dryer to the bathroom in the morning so you can both get your much-needed sleep.

Guests Are Sleeping Over Often

It’s not uncommon for a roommate to develop a relationship that eventually bleeds into their time at home. Their constant guest might be a significant other or it could simply be a close friend. Regardless, you may feel uncomfortable with your newly cramped living quarters or the noise and disruptions of having another person in the room.

It’s best to discuss your boundaries for sleepovers when you first move in. This way, your concerns aren’t aimed at a specific individual who might take offense. If you must address the issue later, try to do so when the third party isn’t present. Come armed with a compromise, and offer specific times and activities that you’re comfortable with sharing in exchange for reclaiming some of your time alone.

There’s an Undercurrent of Aggression

It’s unfortunate, but in some cases, roommates simply don’t get along. You may have radically different political or religious views and few interests in common. Try to smooth things over by inviting your roomie out for lunch or striking up a conversation in his or her area of interest. If these efforts don’t work, talk to a mediator, such as your RA or a school counselor. If this person can’t help you resolve your issues, they may help you switch rooms.

If you sense trouble brewing in your apartment or dorm room, act quickly. The earlier you address a problem, the easier it is. You’ll often find that open conversation can get you everywhere.

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