Improve Your Conflict Resolution Skills


Picture of two female roommates having a discussion in a dorm room

No matter how hard you try, it is almost impossible to avoid conflict when living in a dorm. Being thrown into this lifestyle where you have to share everything with another person, someone that you most likely don't even know, can be extremely difficult for both of you. So when a conflict arises, it is good to have some helpful skills to aid you in finding a resolution.

The first thing is to make sure you address any issues early. This is important for making sure that little things don't blow out of proportion. Not addressing tiny issues right when they happen can cause them all to come out at once, which will only make it more difficult to solve. Situations like, "Could you please vacuum the floor?" can quickly turn into "You never help out around here!" A good way to handle these situations is to offer solutions to the problem instead of just simply stating what is bothering you.

You want to make sure you have routine dorm meetings. Even if there isn't a problem at the moment, being able to sit down and talk with each other will help future problems. Set aside some time once a week where each of you can talk about your day, the problems you're facing, and some solutions that you both can agree on. Being able to frequently sit down and talk to each other makes it easier to problem solve when things do come up.

When a conflict does come up, don't try to match each other's energy levels. Your roommate may have had a really bad day and is yelling at you because you didn't take your clothes out of the dryer. Instead of yelling back, try to keep your voice calm because your roommate will notice this and they will calm down as well. Another effective way to solve problems is inviting a third party. This works really well, as long as you both feel comfortable sharing the problem you are facing. This allows for a neutral mediator to come in and present both of you with an outsider's opinion.

Some important techniques to remember when problem solving is to use phrases like "It makes me feel frustrated when the room is a mess," instead of "You leave the room a mess and it makes me mad." Try to depersonalize issues to avoid blaming one another. Don't make it strictly about the individual, but more about the situation. Another good way to keep the conflict to a minimum is to point out good qualities during the conversation. Saying things like, "I appreciate you getting your chores done early today, could you also please remember to put your clothes in the hamper in the future?" can help ensure that a small issue won't turn into a major confrontation.

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 7, 2017

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