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Communicating with Your Roommate(s)

Living with someone is a great way to gain independence and even to make friends for life, but it can also be difficult, especially if you’ve never had to share living space before. By communicating effectively with your roommate(s), you can avoid unnecessary conflict and resolve any conflict that may arise.

To make your messages clearer, use “I” language instead of “you” language. “I” language can help by:
  • Taking “blame” out of the statement and will help prevent the receiver from becoming defensive
  • Allowing the sender to express their thoughts and feelings
  • Allowing the sender to get to the root of the problem for them
  • being a more thoughtful statement and helping the sender weigh their remarks with care
When you’d say: Try this instead:
I can’t I can
You are wrong My understanding is
I don’t I do
You have to It would help if you
I never Today
You don’t understand Let me clarify
You can’t You can
I don’t know I’ll find out
I have no idea I know who can help

Beware of Demands

Have you ever felt like you would be blamed or punished if you did not do what was being asked of you? If so, then you know how it feels to have someone demand something from you. Demands also tend to come with criticisms and judgment.

People shut down when they hear things like this: Find out what they need by asking:
You should know better Can you tell me about …
The house is supposed to be clean at all times What do you think about …
I deserve to have my girl/boyfriend over any time I want What is your opinion or …
I have the right to do whatever I want What do you know about …

By trying to empathize and understand why your request may have been turned down, you can avoid this mistake. When we use demanding language, people will either submit or rebel. Either way, the chance of working together to meet everyone’s needs is diminished.

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