Dear (Prairie) Burning Questions,
It’s been a month since I’ve moved in with my roommate. Her 5 a.m. alarm wakes me up every morning, she has people in the room at all hours of the night, and, because of her mess, I haven’t seen our floor in weeks. What can I do?
-Worn Out in Williston
Problems with a roommate are something that is bound to happen to everyone. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. So when an action of your roommate annoys you or they seem to be upset, don’t panic. The best thing to do is address the problem right away. It is definitely not comfortable to bring up negatives, but heading off an issue before it becomes a bigger problem is essential. More disharmony always comes from keeping your emotions bottled up when you are living with someone for a whole year.
Starting the talk is the hardest part. Try starting with, “Hey, I just wanted to ask about some roomie stuff,” or, “I was wondering if there was a problem with…” Remember to stay calm and friendly through the whole talk so you do not come off as accusatory. Saying how you really feel is also important. The first line might sound contrived, but the rest needs to be how you really feel so your roomie knows you mean what you are saying.
Sometimes your roommate might become angry by what you bring up. If they become defensive, that is when it is critical for you to stay friendly. That, of course, is also when it is hardest. Staying friendly does not mean you agree with everything they say; stand up for yourself if necessary, just make sure the conversation does not become a fight. Also, be prepared to compromise. The objective is for both parties to be happy with the outcome. No one wants to live in an uncomfortable environment so make sure you speak up about issues as soon as possible. It will take both of you to make the room a happy place to live.