By Paxton Cohoon, Contributing Writer
Living with roommates is never easy. These roommates can end up being great friends or the bane of existence. Regardless if roommates are great friends, fights are still bound to occur. Common arguments involve what temperature to set the thermostat at, cleaning or lack of cleaning habits, and monopolizing the bathroom. How you approach these arguments is key when dealing with roommates. Here at McKendree University, roommates are to try to resolve their problems amongst themselves. If that does not work, they are to inform their Resident Assistant (RA). If that still does not work, they can also inform the Resident Director (RD).
McKenna Scaturro, senior at McKendree, resolves her roommate conflicts by discussing them with her roommates in a friendly matter. When asked if either of her roommates approach conflicts differently she replied, “My current roommates don’t, but my roommates in the past did. They were passive aggressive, left notes and tended to gossip about other roommates when they were not in the room. They also didn’t care to resolve anything either.”
McKenna’s most memorable moment of roommate conflict was when her past roommate went into her room and locked McKenna out. This conflict did not get resolved because neither of them discussed it together, but now McKenna believes she is much better at talking with people about issues that come up in her dorm. When asked if she approaches conflicts in different ways, depending on the type of conflict she responded with, “Yes. Conflicts with people I like, I approach nicely, with people I don’t like, I’m mean or you could say firm about the conflict.”
Scott Crim, senior at McKendree, resolves conflicts with his roommates by having logical discussions about the issues. Because Scott likes to quickly discuss the root of the problem in order to best resolve it, he often takes on a mediator role between his roommates. He once resolved a conflict with a previous roommate that kept eating his food. Scott firmly confronted him about it straight away and was reimbursed for it later. Scott then elaborated on the various factors that affect how he approaches conflict. “I approach differently if it’s male or female, their sensitivity level and depending on the subject of the conflict.”
Overall, both students believe that most of their roommate conflicts do get resolved, especially now, as they have both matured. When asked if they ever had to involve an RA when resolving conflicts amongst their roommates, they both answered similarly. At one point, they both lived with an RA. So if they wanted them involved, it was convenient. If they ever need advice or to vent, they both also have friends who are RA’s.
When asked if any conflicts have escalated to physical fighting, they both said that none of their conflicts ever escalated to physical fighting. Towards the end of each interview, they were both asked if they knew or heard about any interesting stories about roommate conflicts in general. Their responses consisted of: problems with boyfriends/girlfriends being around the apartment too much, hair being left in the shower, walking in on intimate moments, and cats being in the room.
According to Regina Bonfiglio’s article, there are four easy ways for roommates to resolve conflicts: Have honest and polite conversation, know when to pick your battles, respect different views and compromise, and know how to create change (2014). In addition, take advantage of the RA and RD of your building if a problem persists, that is what they are there for. Above all, it is always important to resolve your conflicts before it gets out of hand.