Each SSU student comes to campus with a unique set of personal experiences and values. It is important to remember that you may be living with people who are different from you and who may have an opposing view on everything from religion and lifestyle to how often the dishes need to be cleaned. We encourage you to look at these personal differences as a positive thing, before passing judgment or jumping to conclusions.
The college experience can be stressful and stress can translate into conflict. While conflicts can be uncomfortable and difficult to navigate, remember that having conflict with people you live with isn’t uncommon and can result in positive outcomes when handled appropriately.
Have a Roommate Conflict?
If you have a roommate concern or conflict, your first step is to contact your CSA and ask them for assistance. If you try to contact the housing office or your RLC about a roommate conflict, you will likely be advised to go back to your CSA anyways since that is the first step.
Your CSA is well-trained to help you resolve your suitemate conflict in a number of ways. Your CSA can provide you with tips and techniques on how to appropriately and effectively confront your roommate and solve the concern without intervention from Residential Life Staff. For more serious concerns, CSAs may set up a mediation with your entire suite or with the particular person in your suite who you’re having concerns about. As a mediator, your CSA will facilitate conversation, allow each side a chance to talk in a respectful environment, and potentially help you and your roommate compromise. Another option is re-visiting or re-writing your suitemate agreement with a CSA.
Proactive Tips To Avoid Roommate Disagreements
- Take your roommate agreement seriously and re-visit when necessary. These documents can be a helpful tool in establishing compromises, setting guidelines, and holding each other accountable.
- Avoid using social media to vent frustrations about roommates or others in the community. This often makes situations worse.
- Keep your CSA in the loop if you feel an issue is starting to pop up. He/she will give you options along the way.
- Respect your roommate’s opinions and remember that just because they’re different from yours, they are not wrong or worse than your opinions
- If there are certain hot button issues for you (borrowing clothes, cleanliness, guests, noise) Have proactive conversations with your suitemates about these before they crop up.
Tips for Navigating Conflict
- Be direct, but respectful. Sugarcoating a problem or concern makes it seem like it’s not a big deal when in fact, it may be for you.
- Use “I” statements. For instance, “I felt frustrated when I came home and the juice that I bought was gone from the fridge and I saw the container in your room.” Instead of, “You drank my juice…”
- If you are confronting your roommate and asking them to change a behavior, let your roommate know that you’re also willing to make changes to improve the relationship.
- Be mindful of your body language. Sitting with your arms crossed while someone is talking or even accidental facial expressions can send a message that you’re not listening.
- Remember that your CSA is trained to help navigate conflicts of all kinds, so reach out to them!
Have a Mediation Scheduled?
If your CSA has scheduled a mediation with you, there are some important things to keep in mind:
- Mediations are not about choosing a “winner” and “loser” or assigning blame. They’re about creating a safe environment for dialogue so that a resolution can be reached.
- Remember, your mediator’s role is to facilitate conversation between you and your suitemate(s) so you should be making eye contact with your roommate when discussing challenges.
- The mediation is designed to create a healthy and comfortable environment in your suite, not necessarily to make you best friends.
- Be respectful. Even though you may be angry or frustrated, those emotions are not going to help your mediation. Do your best in handling your emotions and conveying respect – including your body language. Raising your voice, swearing, etc. aren’t effective methods of conflict resolution and thus will be corrected by your mediator.
We understand that it is difficult as parents to watch your son or daughter go through a difficult roommate situation which may be causing stress or other negative repercussions. However, it is important to remember that our processes and protocols are set up with your son or daughter’s safety and educational needs in mind. Therefore, becoming overly involved as a parent can interfere with their educational process and actually hinder learning. Please keep this in mind while communicating with them.