Suite survival: A guide to conflict resolution

No matter how well you get along with your roommate or suitemates, cabin fever might be setting in now that the 10th week of school is upon us. After all, cohabiting a space the size of a garden shed can be far from easy, even if it is with your closest friends. By avoiding these common space-sharing mistakes, you can make it out of the semester without any major fights. The most important thing to realize is that the person you are living with is not a mind-reader. If all you do is text your friends about your grievances and roll your eyes when they aren’t looking, nothing will ever be solved. Chances are, they have no idea they are doing anything wrong.

Before college, every household is held to different standards. Maybe your roommate has no idea that you hate when she cleans both sides of the room because at home, her siblings don’t mind if their stuff has been organized for them. Maybe it’s your roommate’s first time sharing space, and she just doesn’t know leaving open containers of cheese puffs next to the Xbox just isn’t okay.

The biggest problem with roommates and suites is that in the name of friendship, most people let things go in the beginning of the year. But by November, if you’re still pulling hair out of the shower drain, some long-term resentment might start to come to the surface.

In situations like this, the best thing to do is text the person or casually suggest they put their hair in the trash, stop leaving their shoes in front of the door or unplug the panini maker when they’re done with it––whatever your specific problem may be. Small discrepancies like this do not require a suite-wide intervention or even a scheduled meeting.

The absolute worst thing to do in situations like this, especially in a suite setting, is complain to other suitemates or mutual friends about it. Passive aggressiveness is painfully obvious in close quarters. Suitemates are generally friends and chances are, whatever is said will be spread to the rest of the group. Now, six to eight people feel awkward instead of just two.

Some things people do, however, just cannot and should not be changed. A roommate leaving used tissues around the room is an understandable reason for a discussion. But if you think the way they sneeze is annoying, keep it to yourself––not to your subtweets or your group message. When spending copious amounts of time with the same person or people, you will be introduced to their “ticks,” or small actions that aggravate you. You have to deal with it maturely and know when to distance yourself.

That being said, as the saying goes, “The best neighbors have fences.” The best way to guarantee a fight with a roommate or suitemate is to spend all of your time there or with them. Even married couples need space, so you and your suitemates do too.

The most important takeaway here is that staying honest, patient and open-minded is the best way to ensure comfortable cohabitation. If you keep that in mind, the last five weeks of the semester should stay socially stress-free.