This is the first step involved in attempting to resolve any conflict (where appropriate)—a direct conversation between the two parties involved in a dispute, without any outside support.
Here are some techniques you can consider before heading into informal discussion, applied to an example scenario, Roommate A playing music after dorm quiet hours, which annoys Roommate B:
Think about what underlying needs may be playing into this issue.
Roommate A may want to sleep or need quiet to focus, while Roommate B may be trying to stay awake to finish an essay.
Search for common ground and shared values.
Both roommates have to live together and probably don’t want to intentionally make the living situation unpleasant for the other person. Both parties need sleep, both parties need to work. Was there an agreement in place prior to the conversation about quiet hours?
Consider the intent, but focus on the impact of the action.
While the intention of Roommate A might not have been to annoy Roommate B, it did, and the fact that it did is what is important.
Ask questions to gain information instead of assuming.
What were you doing while you were listening to music? Were you trying to avoid hearing something else? How do you like to go to sleep? When?
Brainstorm some possible solutions.
Asking Roommate A when they’re sleeping that night. Creating a norm together about quiet hours. Offering to study in the common room until sleeping. Ear plugs!
Check in during and after the conversation.
“Is now an okay time to talk about this?” “I just want to take a moment to check in with you and see how you’re feeling about the agreement we made. Is it still working for you?”
Review what you’re asking for. How reasonable are you being? If someone asked you the same thing, how would you respond?
Chances are you’ll get better results asking for volume control after 11 p.m. Living with other people involves compromise, which means finding solutions to problems that everyone can live with, not just one person or the other.
Most of the time an informal discussion is where a problem is resolved. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat this step more than once, but most Reedies just need a friendly reminder that their behavior affects everyone living around them. If you or a friend would like help planning out this conversation or have thoughts you would like to discuss, please get in touch!