Living with roommates is a new experience for the majority of college students, and even those who have experience sharing a bedroom/bathroom likely don’t know their roommates before arriving on campus in August.  Conversations about cleanliness, sleep habits, room temperature, and guests can be challenging, and that’s when using “I-But-And” statements can help.

“I understand that you like to stay up late with your friends, but the TV keeps me awake, and I’d like to talk about appropriate times for the room to be available for sleeping.”

Beginning the statement with “I know” or “I understand” tells the other person that you take ownership of the problem, and will be received very differently than something like “YOU wake me up”.  The second part of the statement confronts the issue, “the TV keeps me awake”; again there is no blame placed on the other party.  “And I’d like to work on a solution” closes the statement and brings the other person in to the conversation.

Nobody wants to start a fight, but talking about your expectations is very different.  If you think your roommate will turn this into a fight, imagine if they said that to you; would you think they hate you, or want to fight?  Chances are you wouldn’t, and neither would most other people– so give it a try.  “I-But-And” statements are a great tool, but remember that RAs are always available for help as well.

Having these conversations can be difficult, but they are an essential part of growing up and being an adult, and that’s one of the reasons you chose to attend an institution of higher education like Loyola.  Talking about your expectations won’t cause a fight, but not talking about them almost always will.  The happiest roommates aren’t the ones who always agree, they’re the ones who talk about it when they don’t.

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