Avoid college roommate conflict

Published On: Aug 28 2013 08:56:45 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 10:40:00 PM EDT

College kids are packing up and heading to campus.  Many will have roommates and often where there's roommates, there's conflict. 

Dr. Mike McKee is a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic.  He says it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about your roommate before you move in.

"All of a sudden here's somebody else and they've left their toothbrush out or whatever bugs you, you know. Then a little conflict starts and it grows and grows so you want to find out what you can about the person so you know what to expect from them," he said.

McKee says skills like conflict resolution, tolerance, kindness and courtesy are all important when living with someone else.  He recommends open communication and says it doesn't hurt to set up some house rules right off the bat.

"When you get there, try to set up a schedule, who showers when, who cooks if there's a kitchen involved, who does the dishes, who takes out the trash," advised McKee.

Whether you're an incoming freshman or an upperclassman, McKee says living with a roommate is a four-year major in getting along with other people.

"We all have to get along with people in jobs, in living arrangements, and a lot of us haven't had a lot of practice in that, no matter what you study this is going to be a harder course for a lot of people," said McKee.

The Cleveland Clinic psychologist also recommends looking into different types of peer mediation or conflict resolution programs that may be offered on campus, just in case things get out of hand.

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