Roommate Conflicts: Communication and Mediation
The Office of Residential Student Services strives to strengthen the residential community through healthy relationships. Living in a shared space may be difficult, and conflicts may arise. Roommates will constantly grow while they are here at Kean University. It is normal to have roommate conflicts. There is a lot that can be learned by handling a situation maturely. Following these steps can help roommates have a successful semester together.
- Talk to your roommate directly when something is bothering you. Communication sometimes breaks down. It is important to talk about things as they happen instead of letting it build up. If a problem is addressed early on, there is a better chance that it can be resolved.
- Be direct; be clear about what is actually bothering you. If you do not tell your roommate what is bothering you, he or she won't be able to do anything about it.
- Discuss the issue at hand with regard to the behaviors rather than the personality type. Use "I feel" statements instead of "You" statements. This tactic is less likely to put the two of you on the defensive.
- Communication works two ways; talking and listening. Be patient and remember to listen to what your roommate has to say.
Sometimes it is helpful to have an unbiased third party present when you need to talk to your roommate. The residence hall staff is here to assist you. Our resident assistants (RAs) are trained peer mediators. They can help you come up with solutions to the conflicts that arise. Here's what to expect during a mediation:
- At least one party must contact the RA.
- A meeting will be set up that is convenient for all parties involved.
- The RA will set some ground rules for communication during the meeting.
- Each student will get an opportunity to share his or her feelings about the situation.
- The RA will revise the Roommate Agreement with the group.
Sometimes a problem will need a second mediation with the residence hall director. If a solution cannot be found, than a room change will be provided.