Even if you plan to live with your best friend and do not ever envision having conflict, conflict can and does happen amongst roommates who are living in close quarters with one another.
It is important to sit down with your roommate(s), even if your roommate(s) are your best friend(s), and go through the Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before Move In Day to determine how compatible you will be when living with one another.
Another preventative method is to come up with a rental agreement upon move-in, which lays out a plan for handling roommate issues as they arise.
Types of Conflict
Conflict can vary amongst roommates depending on each living situation. It is important to be aware of common roommate problems up front so that you are able to take the necessary steps to prevent these problems by personally exhibiting the traits of a good roommate.
Knowing about common roommate problems can also help you to recognize and resolve conflicts in a much quicker and more acceptable manner.
Some of the most common roommate problems include:
- Borrowing personal items, such as clothing, without permission.
- Eating another’s food.
- Messy living habits.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Lack of respect for each other’s space.
- Being too noisy.
- Having friends and/or significant others over more frequently than the other roommate(s) prefers.
- Unequal sharing of bills (money).
It’s a good idea to establish rules up front for handling these issues if they come up. If preventative measures aren’t taken, it can permanently damage roommate relationships and make living situations intolerable.
Ask for Help
If it’s helpful to have a conflict mediator, please contact your RA, Residence Life Coordinator, or Apartment Manager to assist you with any roommate issues that you may be experiencing.
If you live in an establishment that doesn't have such a person or you don't feel comfortable talking to that person, you are welcome to contact Hawkeye's Housing Liaison to talk about any roommate issues that you may be experiencing.
Things to Consider
- Do not prop outside doors open for strangers to get in.
- Always lock door when you leave/are sleeping.
- When conflicts arise, try to resolve them by talking with people, not about them.