Quarantine Quarrels: How To Prevent and Resolve Arguments With Flatmates During Lockdown - Hello Student

Quarantine Quarrels: How To Prevent and Resolve Arguments With Flatmates During Lockdown

As the lockdown continues, you may have noticed that tempers are starting to flare amongst your flatmates and family members and it’s to be expected. We currently have less places to escape to – many cannot go to work or the gym. We cannot escape to other friends or family members’ homes to vent and rant. Remove these safe havens and that frustration and emotion forces itself out in unhelpful ways.

Social distancing may not be a problem for the introverts among us but it may be proving difficult for the more outgoing members of society. Chances are you live with someone who has an opposing personality – even if you do get along well normally. Even for the most tight knit groups, lockdown will be a big test of those bonds. So here are some tips to help maintain those bonds and make living in lockdown as easy as possible:

Be considerate of different personalities

If you’re flat-sharing with one or several people as is the case for many students, you’ll most likely be amongst a group of contrasting personalities. This means that everyone will be responding to lockdown in different ways. Some may respond well, behaving as if nothing has changed. Some will find their anxiety spiralling and their worries mounting, and this won’t always be visible or obvious.

To begin with, the best way to support your friends might be to ask how they want to be supported. Some may want to be left alone most of the time and some could just do with the occasional check in so they feel connected. Being flexible in the way that you approach your housemates will help to eliminate a lot of possible arguments further down the line.

It’s a very tough time and people are going to respond differently. Some may try to maintain normality by working hard and exercising frequently, and some might just want to stay in their pyjamas and eat pizza for dinner all week. People are going to cope in any way they can and we mustn’t demonise that. Try to be non-judgmental but also attentive when it’s appropriate.

What if you have an argument?

Even if you try your best to be civil and understanding of those around you, arguments can still bubble to the surface. That’s not a lockdown thing; that’s just a human thing. But even in lockdown, it’s best to try and take a compromising approach. This means calmly outlining your opinion but also being considerate of the other person. Rather than attacking the perspective of your housemate, make it clear how their behaviour is negatively affecting you and how it could negatively affect the experiences of other housemates.

In a lot of arguments, especially one happening between two friends, the other person will often be unaware that they have caused these negative feelings. By highlighting how you feel in the scenario will immediately highlight what’s wrong with their behaviour without it feeling like a personal attack. By also understanding their perspective, they will feel listened to and ultimately more likely to listen to and consider your perspective.

Transparency is key

Awareness and honesty are great tools for lockdown, and they can set up strong foundations for a healthy, conflict-free house. During the current crisis, there will be varying opinions on how serious coronavirus is. Some still believe that the young and healthy are immune and that it is only as strong as seasonal flu. Some may not be taking social distancing and hygiene as seriously as they should. Being honest about your opinions of the virus and how to approach it will at the very least make other housemates more considerate of how you want to live during lockdown.

With even the best, most convincing will in the world, we cannot change everyone’s behaviour during lockdown. But we can make them more aware of how we want to approach it and maintain safety and hygiene in the household. Try to help them understand that hygiene and social distancing are measures put in place to help everyone, not just you. This will help social distancing rules feel like a collaborative effort rather than something that is being enforced.

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