Settling Conflict in Community Living

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It is important to understand that even with all the benefits of community living, it isn’t always a bed of roses. Conflict between adults happens, even in marriages and between friends. When it comes to living in community it is important to have a peace plan in place to settle conflict respectfully. It can be difficult to separate yourself from the situation because you and your housemates are more than just acquaintances or roommates.  Here are some ideas for dealing with conflict between women living in community.

  • Establish house rules. There are many resources available for designing roommate agreements on line. Use these and talk with your housemates to create a set of rules that will not restrict anyone’s personal freedom but will keep the home safe and orderly. For example, there may be rules about visitors, laundry, cooking, and quiet time. Many of these are common sense but having rules in writing from the beginning is important for dealing with future issues.

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  • Weekly fellowships. Be sure to connect with your housemates regularly. This could be in the form of one or more shared meals a week. This gives everyone in the house an opportunity to bond on a social level which will open the channels of communication if there is ever a problem.
  • Compromise.Much of conflict management is about creating compromises that allow each party to feel satisfied by the outcome. Learning to share resources may be a new experience for a lot of individuals so it is important to use patience in the process.
  • Don’t keep things inside.If you’re experiencing a problem with a housemate don’t talk about it behind their back. It is important to first understand just what the problem is. If you’re having a hard time articulating your anger speak to an outside friend who can remain unbiased. Talk about what you’re experiencing and allow them to give you feedback on the right words. Be sure to talk with your housemate at a time when you’re not angry. Approach them, state your issue, and allow them time to correct it.

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  • Remember that you can’t change other people. It is also important to understand how you react to situations. It is not possible to you to change someone’s behavior after you’ve attempted to communicate the problem, so you need to establish a way of dealing with it in the future. Many people will be unable to admit they own the problem and will lash out. The only part of the process you have control over is your own reaction.

Dealing with conflict is a small inconvenience when it comes to creating a shared home life with others who can support one another. Building community in this way is an experience where the benefits outweigh the negatives.

To learn more about living in community, please visit my website and contact me for more information.

Women For Living in Community