5 Ways to Approach Roommate Conflict

Most incoming university students have never shared a room or apartment/suite with another person before and this new experience may be challenging.  Sometimes things work out really well and roommates become lifelong friends and sometimes they may have very little in common with each other and lead very separate lives.  All relationships have high and low points, but the challenge in residential living is learning how to manage and communicate through these ups and downs.  As a parent, roommate conflicts may be an entirely new experience as well.  Here are five things that you can do to help your son or daughter in the event of a roommate disagreement.

Remain Open Minded

  • It is important to remember that there are two sides to every story.  Support your son or daughter while encouraging them talk to their roommate about what is troubling them. Advise them to address the roommate’s behaviour rather than the individual themselves.

Use Their Roommate Agreement

  • Each resident student completes a Roommate Agreement at the beginning of the year. They discuss things such as sleeping patterns, noise and cleanliness among other things. Ask your son or daughter what they agreed upon at the beginning of the year.

Encourage Compromise

  • Learning to live and share an environment with another person can be a challenge. It can take some compromise in order for everyone to feel comfortable.  Encourage your son or daughter to be flexible in the discussion in order to reach an agreement that works for everyone.

Refer them to their Community Advisor

  • The Community Advisor living in your son or daughter’s community is trained in mediation and conflict management and is willing to help.  They are students too and can understand some of the challenges that your son or daughter may be facing and will be able to provide strategies to resolve the situation.

Give Them Confidence

  • It is natural to want to help solve your son or daughter’s issue for them.  However in the long run this will not be beneficial.  University is an opportunity for students to develop and practice the life skills they will need in their future.  Encourage them to try to solve the issue on their own while giving them the support they need.