This archived article was written by: Stacy Graven
Conflict is a word may try to avoid, and still conflict happens. On campus, especially in the residence halls, events could happen that create tension among roommates leaving an uncomfortable feeling in the air. This leads some students to deal with the stress and not approach the subject and sometimes, completely ignore it. This can last so long before problems with tension arise. Passive-aggressive behavior may ensue because of the rising tension. Actions could be taken that hinder instead of help the situation. Some students on campus said, “I think the roommates should talk it out. However,do everything in your power to improve the relationship first before you talk it out.”
Another, “Some of us are passive. So, approaching the subject can be stressful and hard, but I realize that the right thing to do would be to bring up the source of conflict with each other.”
Two questions students might have about conflicts among roommates includes asking RAs for help.
1. What are some ways that RA’s can help in roommate conflicts?
Resident Assistant President, Catie Duncan, said, “RA’s are trained for roommate conflicts before the school year starts. Our job is to make sure that students feel heard and that their concerns are validated.”
A personal approach she takes as an RA is talking to the residents individually. Once each resident is aware of the concerns, everyone is brought together. “I can act as a mediator while they talk things out but the residents get the chance to work the problem out themselves.” Duncan said.
2. What can we, as students, do to better our relationships with our roommates?
If concerns or conflicts are approached in an incorrect way, resentment can occur. Cruelty in approach can lead to retaliation, which creates more conflict than it resolves. To avoid this, a calm approach to the concern is recommended. A calm approach usually leads to a calm response. Duncan said, “Stop being passive-aggressive. Make sure your roommates know that you want to solve the problem instead of blaming them for it. If the problem continues to escalate, then call the RAs.”
Being ignorant isn’t blissful in this circumstance. Ultimately, the best thing, no matter how apprehensive a student becomes, is to directly approach the roommates with the respect necessary to solve the conflict or concern. Ease off passive-aggressive behaviors that most choose and take a stand instead. Take the time that is necessary to resolve the conflict and the tension in the air may ease. Conflict in this way will become a word to conquer instead of a word to fear.