Common Roommate Conflicts: And How to Solve Them
(1) Messiness: This is a problem that you probably experienced on-campus too, but your apartment or house may be a lot bigger and have more spaces that need cleaning. Cleaning things like your stove or oven might not have been an issue when you were on campus, so, if you are having problems with a dirty apartment or you and your roommate have different ideas of cleanliness, here’s how you can try to deal with it:
- Try to make a chore chart. Hang it up somewhere where everyone will be able to see it, so everyone knows who is responsible on any given day.
- Enact a 24-hour turnaround on dirty dishes.
- Bring up the issue with your roommate. In the nicest possible way, confront your roommate about the issue and say that it has been bothering you and ask them if they can try to work on it.
(2) Rent and Bills: This is an issue that can become divisive very quickly. If your roommate is constantly late on paying you back on bills and rent or they don’t chip in their fair share on household necessities, it can cause a real issue. Here are some ways to deal with it:
If you guys are paying together, ask the landlord if your rent can be paid separately so that each person is responsible for their fair share. If their lateness on bills is resulting in your water or electricity to be shut off, remember to remind them ahead of time.
- Have a conversation with them and let them know that you can’t afford to keep paying their half whenever they are late and that it’s having some negative side effects on you and your bank account.
- Make a written agreement at the beginning of the year about who pays what and how often so that there are no misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
- Also, just be careful whenever bringing up the topic of money, as it can be a sensitive subject. Be sure to never seem accusatory, but open and willing to communicate and understand.
(3) Food: This is a topic that is never fun to deal with. If you and your roommate never spoke about sharing, but you start to notice your food disappearing or running low, it’s necessary to address it. Here’s a few ways you can deal with the issue:
- If you see it happen or you sense that it was a certain roommate, address it! It won’t do anybody any good to keep ignoring it. Tell your roommate flat out, that you are not interested in sharing food and would prefer it if they stopped.
- Start to label your things. This is a clear message that the food is yours and there won’t be any confusion. If they continue to do it even after you have labeled it, then you must sit them down and have a conversation about it.
- If the problem persists even after you have discussed it, get a mini fridge and put it in your room where your roommate will not have access to it.
(4) Guests: If your roommates have been having a lot of people over lately, and it has been making you feel uncomfortable or it has been too loud, then something must be done. Here are some tips to address the issue:
- Make an agreement at the beginning of the year about when guests are allowed and how often. This will prevent any disagreements.
- Have an agreement in place that if anyone wants to have guest(s) over, they must notify the rest of the roommates ahead of time.
- If you are fine with your roommates having guests over, but just want them to keep the volume down, establish times when your roommates should keep the noise level down to a minimum.