Living with roommates can be hard, and it can be even harder during a quarantine and self isolation. If you are having conflict with your roommates, partner, family, or others that you live with, it can make life a little unbearable. Learning how to resolve and manage conflict is a helpful skill to have!
Recognize and validate your emotions
In stressful or tense situations, it can be easy to act out or say something that you may not mean. By recognizing your own emotions and why you are feeling a certain way, you can develop better self-awareness, which can help resolve conflict in a more effective manner. Validating yourself and knowing that you are right to bring up certain things that may be bothering you also helps to establish good communication.
Tip: Use “I Feel” statements. For example, a statement like . ‘You never help me clean the kitchen, it’s always me doing everything!’ could be better said as “I feel disrespected when I am the only one cleaning the kitchen”. By stating your feelings rather than saying someone else is at fault, it can minimize conflict.
Establish clear communication
Speaking of communication, this is a really important skill that comes into play during conflict resolution. If one, both, or all parties involved aren’t properly communicating, this can increase tension and conflict. Clear communication looks like using nonverbal and verbal communication skills to state what you want to see happen in a given situation.
Tip: Choose the method of communication line that works best for you and the other person. Whether that is texting, calling, FaceTiming, or talking in person, it can help when both people are on the same page about where they will be receiving communication from.
Practice active listening
All too often, we listen with the intetnion of responding to others. Listening with the intention of actually hearing what the other person has to say and being able to practice empathy in the conversation is crucial to healthy relationships.
Tip: Ask open-ended questions. For example: “I can see that the current situation isn’t ideal for you. What changes would you like to see?” Open-ended questions can encourage the other person to go more in depth about what is bothering them and provide clarity on certain issues.
Respect, respect, respect
As individuals, we all have our differences. In conflict resolution, this can be tricky because differences may create more conflict or tension. However, recognizing that someone has a different perspective than you is the first step in respecting where they are coming from. Respecting someone else doesn’t mean that you agree with them, but that you try and understand where they are coming from and know that their opinion and feelings are valid.
Tip: Put yourself in the other person’s position to try and understand their point of view. Take the time to really empathize with someone else and think about how their background, culture or experiences have made them think a certain way. By putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, it can help you better respect their opinion.
Aim for flexibility
Usually, we can’t all get exactly what we want. Being able to find a middle ground during conflict is important. Recognizing that everyone leads different lives and has different priorities can help find a balance in the midst of conflict. By collaborating and working together to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs, you can work to resolve conflict.
Tip: Have everyone involved in the conflict resolution create a list of ideal solutions to the problem. Share the lists with each other and formulate a solution that takes everyones expectations into account.
If you truly want to resolve conflict, you should remember that forgiveness plays a big role. Being able to understand if someone else made a mistake is crucial, since none of us are perfect and mistakes can happen. Being able to forgive someone or apologize to someone for your mistake is a part of resolving an issue.
Tip: Ask yourself “How much does this matter?” If you think that holding on to a resentful feeling isn’t that important, then let go of those feelings. Ask yourself what really matters to you in the situation.
Resolving conflict is a two way street. Respect the other person, their space, and their opinions. By addressing the problem and talking it out using these tips, it should be easier to diffuse a tense situation. Check out these helpful resources for more on respect, conflict resolution, and communication.