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How do you handle college roommates who are messy without causing an argument?

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Quick Answer

Sarah Lawrence College Residence Life outlines a plan to help people confront a roommate using effective communication if there is a problem. The plan advises approaching the roommate in private, being direct, being patient, and giving each person involved a chance to express him- or herself.

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Full Answer

According to Sarah Lawrence College Residence Life, most conflicts between roommates are the result of miscommunication or a lack of communication. Developing effective communication between roommates can therefore foster a more comfortable and accepting environment.

The first step to solving a problem through effective communication is to actually open up a conversation. Refrain from talking about roommates behind their backs; instead, speak to them directly about their actions. Being clear about the problem is also important, because it lays out the issue and gives your roommate a chance to understand and respond to specific concerns. In some cases, roommates may not notice that they are being messy; telling them calmly and directly may help them make positive changes.

Communication is effective only when all people in a conversation have a chance to express their sides of the story, so giving your roommate a chance to respond to any concerns is important. Sarah Lawrence College Residence Life also suggests creating a win-win situation to resolve conflict; this involves evaluating the needs of all the people involved and coming up with a solution that benefits everyone.

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