Determine how you feel about the situation and the minimum you want to achieve in order to improve the situation e.g. you are angry that your neighbour uses skype until 2am and you would like them to use headphones after 11pm; or you are upset that your room mate keeps bringing her boyfriend to your shared room and you would like her to give you prior warning.
Wait until both parties are calm, and approach the situation informally in a neutral setting e.g. cooking in the kitchen, walking from a lecture. Start the conversation in a low-level and gentle manner.
Be clear and concise but in a fair and non-judgemental way – make sure you are specific and clarify your issue.
Use “I” statements which appear assertive and challenging without being confrontational. Don’t use “you” statements as they can be perceived as aggressive:
"When I was trying to sleep last night I was frustrated because I could hear you on skype. I would be really grateful if you could please use headphones after 11pm from this weekend so I can get more sleep. Thank you.”
“When you came back to our room the other night with James, I felt surprised and caught off guard because I was only wearing my towel. I would prefer it if you could please text me in advance so I can make sure I am properly dressed. Thank you.”
Be objective and future orientated. Don’t over exaggerate the problem e.g., “you always”, “every night”, and suggest an opportunity for change or compromise. Be aware of your tone - don’t raise your voice, and avoid offensive language.
If your flatmate isn’t listening to you or doesn’t understand, ask them to relay to you how they see the problem. Wait for them to finish and then express your position again using different words. Remember that you are trying to get them to understand and respect your viewpoint, regardless of whether or not they necessarily agree with it.
It is usually best to approach your concern at the early stages on a one-to-one informal basis. If this doesn’t work then contact us and we can set up a small meeting or a flat meeting.
Don’t isolate members of flats and corridors by targeting them as a group. Be open and honest but don’t accuse, assume or insult. Always be respectful and considerate of one another’s feelings, beliefs and property.