{shortcode-df54ec9350c39a042cec29874f48b7f847d00575}Is your roommate leaving garbage all over the dorm? Did you wake up yet again from your neighbors down the hall blasting music? Want to just talk to your friends about your day, but don’t know how to start the conversation? Let’s face it — we’ve all been there before. With our iPhones in hand and an Instagram feed just waiting to be scrolled, it’s all too easy to avoid the tough, necessary, and sometimes really critical conversations. So, next time you have something to say or want to confront a friend about something on your mind, keep this guide as a reference.

Talk.

It sounds simple, but sometimes initiating a conversation — even if it seems informal — is really challenging. How do you tell your roommates that you are constantly frustrated by the alarms in the morning that seem to wake up everyone but them? You tell them. Send a text to your roommates letting them know that something is on your mind and that you want to discuss it with them. Maybe suggest a conversation over dinner (or a bag of popcorn) – if we’re being all confrontational here, we may as well be eating yummy food :)

Be upfront ASAP.

The longer you push off a conversation, the more intense the feelings sometimes become. Did your roommate forget to take out the trash? Did they say something that irked you? Talk to them right then and there, whether it be in that moment or that same day, so that the situation can fizzle out and not blow over.

Schedule a weekly debrief.

Literally. Compare your schedules and find a time each week to sit down and catch up with one another. Maybe it’s just us, but Zoom really makes the days fly (zoom) by. It’s all too easy to get caught up with a pset or a paper and forget that you are surrounded by real (and not virtual) humans. We would suggest spicing up with weekly debrief by planning some cute, small activity to do. Talk about how you are feeling about this semester while knitting? Count us in.

Remember that we are all human and that these times are unprecedented (yes, that word is overused but nevertheless fitting).

We are all going through our own challenges and struggles, and each Zoom day comes with its ups and downs. If you are frustrated about something or just have something on your mind, most likely your roommates and friends do too. Make sure your voice is heard and reciprocate by being a good listener. You never know — maybe you and your roommates are even experiencing similar feelings!

Navigating conflict is always a challenge, especially during month nine hundred and fourteen of the global hot potato. While this list is by no means exhaustive or infallible advice, it probably can’t hurt to be upfront, honest, and compassionate in most situations. Take this as your sign from the universe to be confident and address whatever’s been on your mind lately!