Written by Delaney Rea | Photo by Michael Davis

How often do you fight with your roommates? If you’re lucky, your plan to live with people you knew well paid off – they’re roommate picks that you get along with famously. However, you might find yourself unexpectedly at odds with the people you share close quarters with. Are passive aggressive comments thrown around like hand grenades? Do icy glares chill you to the bone, far more than the storm outside ever could? If roommate hostility is a problem in your house, it will be no picnic for anyone.

If this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope. There are always ways to mitigate and manage the strains of roommate life. Number one: remember that you can be a better roommate, too. Coexistence is a two-way street, and cooperation on your end will help immeasurably. If your roommate asks you to change something, like doing the dishes or keeping the common areas clean, listen to them. Instead of blowing off their requests, take some extra time to keep things civil. If your roommate takes offense when you bring up your issues, react by remaining respectful and calm – cooler heads always prevail. Actions like these will make everyone happier in the long run.

You may find that your roommate’s personality goes with yours about as well as peanut butter goes with sandpaper. It can be tough to navigate a living situation when it’s shared with someone who irritates you on a primal level. Instead of shunning a roommate like this completely, try adapting to their personality. Pay attention to their behavioral ticks, and learn what irritates them. Keeping these aspects of their personality in mind when conversing will help you avoid petty conflict. If patience and persistence doesn’t do the trick, don’t be afraid to confront the issue with an honest conversation. Most people with even the bare minimum rationality will respond to calm, fair conversing. Worst case scenario, taking some time apart from a difficult roommate will allow the issue to cool down.
If you and your roommate made certain agreements prior to moving in, it could be time to reevaluate them. Maybe you both agreed to take on a certain set of chores each week – but if they’re just not getting done, and you feel you’re still doing your fair share of the work, it’s time to address the issue. While it may be a tricky subject to bring up now, reemphasizing the need to work together to keep the house in order will improve your relationship over time.