Recently an incoming UCLA freshman sent her roommates an e-mail demanding how the dorm room was going to be set up when she arrived to campus. When they did not respond within a day, she sent a follow-up email: “What I stated above is what I’m expecting once I arrive at the dorm, and I won’t be in the mood for any arguing or other nonsense because you two decided to deliberately disregard this email. If need be, I’ll turn it into a bigger situation so don’t try me.”
When she finally received a response, the student attempted to “diffuse” the situation. “I’m also really chill too. But as you can see from my previous email, I am like a ticking time bomb that sets off when certain things I don’t like happen to me.”
This is an extreme situation of roommate conflict. I doubt any of us have experienced something like this, especially before the semester even begins. Those UCLA freshmen definitely have some things to work out, but perhaps we all have something that needs to be worked out with our roommates.
Living with people is challenging at times. Working your life around other people’s living habits is all about balance. It takes compromise and putting others first at times. I’ve seen and experienced my fair share of roommate conflict. If both sides are not willing to work things out, it makes any resolution impossible.
Hopefully, you’ve never had a roommate experience like that. Sometimes you have a roommate that cleans up after him or herself, works for compromise, and becomes an incredible friend. Other times, you may not be as lucky.
A good roommate may seem hard to find, especially when people you were once excited to room with become people you don’t know how you are going to live with. You may have heard it said, “Don’t room with your best friend, because you won’t be friends when you are done.” It may be true. In fact, the roommates that I have become closest with are the ones I did not know well before living with them.
Freshman year, I met my roommate at “roommate speed dating.” Talk about nerve-wracking. When we moved in, we were practically strangers, and yet we became best friends and remain so to this day. However, we had to work at it. We had to compromise, learn how to share space, and accept each other’s quirks.
A lot of us have been involved in uncomfortable living situations when it comes to roommates. Whether it involves talking it out with your roommate, involving your resident assistant (RA), or moving out, roommate issues always need to be dealt with in some way.
To start, the best thing to do is to analyze yourself. Often times, we attribute thoughts to other people out of our own insecurity. Figure out if you have done everything you have said or promised you would do before talking to your roommate. If you are unable to figure out what is going on, then ask you roommate(s) to have a discussion.
Keep your conversations amicable. Everyone needs to be heard and listened to. Your view of the situation may not always be accurate, so it is important to understand everyone’s take on the problem. From there, if the situation is unsolvable, you should take it to the RA and they can advise the best next move.
Roommates can challenge you and help you become a better person. By learning how to listen and compromise, you are able to work with people throughout your life.
— Allie Alexy, Opinion Editor