Handling flatmate disputes can be tough. There is not doubt, we have all heard the horror-stories of living with other people. Sure, lots of us get lucky and we end up with the sweetest, most respectful friends as our flatmates, but then there’s the unlucky ones. I decided that after listening to some of my friends difficulties with their flatmates, it would be interesting to collate their top 9 tips when it comes to handling flatmate disputes.
1. Have a discussion in public
If you feel like it would be beneficial to have a discussion with your flatmate in order to overcome the dispute, then try to organise a time where you can meet in a cafe or someplace similar. This way it is in a public environment, and people tend to be more polite when other people are around them. This could avoid a massive blow-up so its definitely worth the price of a coffee or two!
2. Remember that people will treat you how you treat them
This is a really important one to remember, even in the heat of the moment. Try to be the bigger person and keep your cool (around them at least). If you show them respect, you are much more likely to get that same respect back.
3. Think about the best times to talk
If your flatmate has just finished a long shift at work or day at uni, they may not be in the best mindset to start a serious conversation about your conflict. Time it so they are likely to be more open-minded to the conversation in the first place.
4. Set boundaries from the beginning
In order to try and minimise the disputes you may encounter with your flatmates, set rules and boundaries from the first few days to ensure you are all on the same page. It is handy to have them written down so you can refer back to them if you feel one of these boundaries may have been crossed.
5. Don’t drag partners/friends into the problem
Although it can be extremely easy to vent to your partner, friends, family or really anyone who will listen, it is really important to remember that constantly thinking about the situation is going to make it worse. Sure, tell your friends and family about it and see if they have any advice, but don’t let it consume you- that isn’t fun for them either!
6. Avoid ‘dobbing’ your roommate in to your landlord
As good as it may feel to sit down in front of your computer and smash out a factual but emotionally-fuelled essay regarding your flatmate, sending it to your landlord could cause more trouble than it is worth. Try to keep in mind that once you have sent something in writing like that, it is hard to take it back!
7. Be prepared to compromise
This is one that my friend feels is very important, and she even gave me an example of one of the compromises she has set with her current flatmates. She has a smoothie maker that is noisy! She enjoys having them for breakfast, though. The compromise my friend made with her flatmates was that from 8am onwards she could use the machine, but any time before then would be too early. Compromise is important, and a two way street, so don’t forget that!
8. Respect each other’s space
If it is time to have the conversation with your flatmate about the dispute, try and do so in a common area of the house. Bedroom spaces are private and people are likely to feel their space has been intruded and that they are being attacked if you go in to their room to have a serious discussion like that. Try the kitchen or the living room as a good alternative!
9. Write down your concerns
Rather than writing an angry email to your landlord (or anyone else for that matter), sit down with your notebook and write out a list of all the things that are concerning you regarding your flatmate. This helps you identify what the underlying cause of the issue is, and prepare what to say if, and when, you decided to have a chat with them about the dispute!
Hopefully you aren’t in this predicament yourself, but if you are then I hope that these tips on handling flatmate disputes helped you decide the best way to approach the issue. Nothing lasts forever, and I bet you will look back on this dispute with your flatmate one day in the future and see it merely as a learning opportunity! Good luck!
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"Hi! My name is Vicki and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I am nineteen years old and passionate about writing, film and beauty. Hope you enjoy reading my articles!"