Conflict, Communication, and Mediation

Living with roommates isn’t always easy. Sharing a living space may be stressful, and conflicts may arise. Sometimes situations that work at the beginning of the year become more difficult as the year goes on; remember that you and your roommate will be constantly growing and changing in your time at the College of Saint Benedict. It is perfectly normal to have roommate conflicts. In fact, there is a great deal to be learned from handling a difficult situation maturely, respectfully and creatively.

Have a Conversation with Your Roommate
Communication sometimes breaks down and you may have to have a conversation with your roommate regarding an issue that one of you has with the other. If this happens, then it is helpful to have some idea how you are going to go about it.

How to tell if there is an issue:

If you start to notice these things, you should not ignore them. If a problem is addressed early, there is a better chance of it being worked out amicably.

How to address the issue:

These tips should help you communicate in a healthy way with your roommate(s):

If you are upset with your roommate, chances are that they are upset with you as well. Being involved in a dialogue means that you will need to be able to listen and given everyone a chance to speak. Criticism is bound to happen and your natural reaction is going to be to criticize back, but that is only going to compound the problem. Learning to accept criticism is going to help you communicate and live with your roommate. If you both find that you are approaching the limit and things are not being resolved, agree to take some time away from the discussion to give you each time to process what is going on. This will also give you each time to develop feedback that is not going to be hurtful and won’t be fueled by anger.

Roommate Mediations 
In difficult discussions, such as roommate conflicts, it is very helpful to have an unbiased third party to help mediate the discussion. Our RA/CAs are trained mediators, with good experience helping roommates come up with solutions to their conflicts. If you find that you and your roommate are having difficulty resolving your conflict, you should definitely approach your RA/CA to arrange a mediation.

We believe that roommate mediations are so beneficial that all students experiencing roommate conflicts are strongly encouraged to participate in a mediation.

How mediations work