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Roommate Disagreements in Your UW Off Campus Housing? Here Are Great Questions to Break the Deadlock

Tripalink creates co-living communities and student housing opportunities across the United States.

By Dawn WellsPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

At UW Seattle, you are loving life as a student, and everything is trucking along just fine. Your classes are going well, you are staying healthy, and you have met all kinds of interesting people from around the world. Then it happens: you walk into your UW graduate housing, and for one reason or another, you get into a blowout with your roommate. Now your homelife in your UW off campus housing is disrupted as the two of you glower at each other, unable to apologize or find a way through the conflict. It does not, to say the least, make for a positive atmosphere, but what can you do? How can you get talking again and break through the silence so that you can really hear each other and your UW apartment is peaceful again? The answer lies in some thoughtful questions that are designed to get around your mutual frustrations so that you can see each other as human beings.

Question 1: If we saw two other people with the same problem, what would we advise them to do?

As you and your roommate stew in your University of Washington summer housing, it can be helpful to put some distance between yourselves and the issue while still addressing it. This question allows the two of you to focus on the problem but at the same time to step back from it.

Imagine you and your roommate are walking across campus and see a few friends arguing over the same issue. You stop to listen and observe, and, like all people, you have an opinion. What would it be? What would get those hypothetical individuals to stop yelling and listen to each other? Whatever you come up with, be sure to try it out and see if it helps you in real life.

Question 2: If I can give you what you are requesting, how might that help you?

Sometimes gridlock can be broken if you can look past what you may sacrifice to how that will help your UW apartment roommate. Let’s be clear here: if your University of Washington off-campus roommate is asking you to do something that violates an important boundary, you should not do it. That said, if they are asking you to hold your party on a different night so that they can study for a big test, that may be a different matter entirely.

When you weigh what you give up against what your roommate will gain or vice versa, you can relate to each other as individuals and see that their needs are just as important as yours. That will make your life in your UW off campus housing a whole lot more peaceful.

Question 3: What do you think we need to do differently so that this relationship will be healthier?

Be careful here: this question can either be tremendously helpful, or it can escalate your argument, making life in your UW off campus housing much worse. The key is to avoid bringing up the past and to instead focus on the future. Remember, too, to avoid “you” statements that apportion blame. Helpful ideas might include these:

I think we need to communicate better about what we expect each other to do in the kitchen and why.

I believe that we can benefit from having a set procedure for how bills are paid each month.

Maybe it would be better if we let each other know a week ahead of time when we want to have a party.

Statements to avoid would be these:

You need to stop leaving your dishes in the sink.

Our relationship would be stronger if you would pay the electric bill on time.

I would be much happier if I had more advance notice about a party.

It’s all about respectful communication, the foundation of any good relationship.

There is always a better way to resolve disagreements with your University of Washington roommate than resorting to stone-cold silence or sniping at each other. In the end, do your best to keep the lines of communication open and to really listen to your roommate. That way, your UW off campus housing will be a place of tranquility, not conflict.

Tripalink creates co-living communities and student housing opportunities across the United States. We simplify the apartment search to reduce the cost of living, create beautiful homes, and help both students and young professionals find a community in their city. For more information about Tripalink and co-living, please see


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