*Editor’s note: A name has been changed for privacy reasons.
As apartments are filled with four to eight roommates, it can be hard to address issues that occur, especially if it is your first time living on your own. Talking about issues can be difficult but suppressing them may make the situation worse.
Mariah Mudrow, a freshman studying mathematical sciences, said a reason she didn’t confront her roommates was that she was scared of getting them mad. Mudrow said when she didn’t confront her roommates, however, she felt she wasn’t fulfilling her responsibility as a roommate.
If you are having trouble communicating with your roommates about an issue, here are a few ideas that you can use.
Think about the main issue
Rebecca Parshall, a junior studying elementary education, gave her thoughts about how she deals with roommate issues.
“I tend to be pretty non-confrontational, so I do a lot of self-reflection,” Parshall said. “I determine if I’m the real issue and if I can see something in my behavior that needs to be changed. … It usually lessens the issue I have with my roommate. Sometimes I do have to say something … (and) I ask them politely to stop.”
When talking to a roommate about concerns, being concise and to the point can help. Find out what the core issue is.
Pray for Guidance
Jacob Anderson, a freshman studying computer science, has not experienced any issues with roommates but he said he would pray first before confronting a roommate.
“I would probably (ask for) greater knowledge on the (issue),” Anderson said. “I don’t know what they are thinking or what they are doing, … just making a base judgement on them by just looking is not appropriate. I have no idea what they are going through or what they are thinking about.”
Talk with your roommate
If there is an issue, talk to the roommate right away. It is likely they don’t know what they are doing bothers you.
Kalynne Pincock, a senior studying English, said if you have an issue with a roommate, talk to them privately and don’t have the entire apartment have an intervention with them.
“(Talk to your roommate) one-on-one, don’t bring everyone else into it, it is not their problem,” Pincock said. “You sit down and talk to that person, and not only talk to that person, but listen to that person. You need to be able to take that criticism because maybe to them you are the problematic roommate.”
When you go to your roommate, talk to them kindly. Let them know your concerns and feelings about what they’re doing. Having this open communication can help resolve problems sooner and avoid animosity in the apartment.
Avoid using hurtful language
Your apartment is supposed to be a refuge from the world where everyone can feel welcomed, so avoid harmful language.
Madeline Fife, a senior studying marriage and family studies, recounted how one of her roommates went about addressing issues.
“I had one roommate (who) was very harsh in the way that she said things,” Fife said. “I felt like issues could have been resolved, but the way she went about it was so abrasive and hurtful. … It’s hard to want to improve the relationship.”
Counsel with someone of higher authority
Go to a manager or your bishop for advice. Counsel with them about what you can do to help your roommate understand how their actions affect you.
Jenny Lake,* a sophomore studying exercise physiology, said to try resolving the issue yourself, then go to a higher authority.
“I had a roommate reported to the Honor Code office,” Lake said. “We tried talking to her and she wasn’t listening. We tried giving her a few chances, and she still wasn’t responding. … (There wasn’t) much else we could do… We went to the Honor Code office.”
Forgive one another
“At first it kind of stings after someone comes up to you and says they don’t like (what you are doing), you’re automatically in a defensive mode,” said Rachel Anderson, a senior studying history. “(Be) willing to … be humble and remember that we all have to live together and that we have all grown up in different situations. Just that level of understanding (helps make it) easy for me to let go of pride and I’ll try and change.”