Drama-Free Ways to Work Stuff Out With The People You Live With

Drama-Free Ways to Work Stuff Out With The People You Live With

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Brittney Morgan
Mar 12, 2017

We all hope that our home situations and our relationships with our roommates will be perfect all the time, but the truth is, we're human and everyone has different habits, ideas and definitions of what clean (or quiet, or considerate) really means. Sometimes even with all those differences, you can still cohabitate without any issues, and other times you find yourself facing problems, and solving them feels impossible. But when roommate issues do arise, it doesn't have to result in an unhappy situation—here are a few ways to handle roommate conflicts, without all the drama you're worried about.

Learn to communicate more effectively

The number one rule of avoiding roommate drama? Don't be passive aggressive. Bringing up an issue—like if someone's not doing their fair share of the cleaning—isn't easy and no one likes to deal with confrontation, but it's better to talk about things openly together than it is to say nothing's wrong and get more and more frustrated by the problem at hand. The key is in the way you say things; you want to be thoughtful and not accusatory.

Rather than start a conversation by pitting yourself against your roommate (or roommates), make it known that you want to work together—don't say "I need to talk to you," or "you didn't clean X thing when you were supposed to," try asking "can we talk about this?" and "our current system doesn't seem to be working since the apartment is still messy; can we come up with a better system together?" Share your feelings, but also be up front about asking for their thoughts and ideas so they feel heard.

Hold regular meetings

If you can sense an issue at the beginning, don't let it build up until you absolutely can't deal with it anymore—that will either lead to you feeling hopeless and that there's no solution, or to a fight that won't actually make the situation any better. A great way to make starting the conversation easier—along with using more inclusive language, like above—is to carve out time that is dedicated solely to talking about housekeeping stuff.

Schedule regular roommate meetings (they can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—whatever works best for you all) where you talk about things like chores, bills, the state of your apartment and anything else you might need to cover. Since you'll all expect the meetings to happen at a certain time, you will all have time to think about anything you might want to bring up, and you'll have a designated time to do so—it'll feel less like a confrontation and more like a discussion, which will put everyone more at ease.

Offer them their choice of chores first

Does it seem like your roommate isn't doing their part because they just don't like the chores they're getting stuck with? Chores aren't particularly fun, but we all have things we'd much rather do over others—maybe they hate vacuuming but don't mind cleaning the sink or taking out the trash, and would be more likely to actually do those chores. It might be worth it to try offering them first dibs on tasks. If choosing first means they do their chores on time without any issues, then you can go from there to find a solution that works for all of you. That might mean sticking to the same chores each week instead of rotating—whatever works for you.

Find a way to make chores fun

Maybe scheduling your chores is boring and hard to plan or for you all to agree on—if that's the case, look for a way to turn the actual assigning of tasks into a more interesting activity. You can draw straws, roll dice, use charts or wheels—just find something that interests you and that you can all agree on fairly. (If you need ideas, here are a few you can try!).

Maybe choosing chores isn't the issue, maybe it's just that your roommates need more motivation to actually do them. In that case, suggest that you do your chores together—or at least the big ones. Plan a set time when you're all free so you can play music and clean together. You'll get everything done, you'll feel better, and you'll have a chance to laugh and bond with your roommates in the process. And hopefully those good feelings will trickle down into the smaller, everyday chores, and you'll all be more likely to do them.

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