Here's How To Text Your Roommate After A Fight, According To Experts
You can't live with them and you can't live without them. Seriously, who else would keep you company in the morning when you're making breakfast, or help you clean the apartment on a lazy Sunday? Roommates are the girls who started out as strangers in college and turned into soul sisters. There's just something about sharing spaces that makes you bond with someone on a whole new level. But, while these companions bring out the best of us at times, they can also cause some trouble. Even though you really love each other, you'll inevitably have your conflicts, too — and in those moments, it's important to know how to text your roommate after a fight, because sometimes you just don't have the energy to do it in person.
Maybe she just didn't do her share of the dishes, and you're so tired of picking up after her mess. Or maybe her boyfriend slept over, and they were fighting until the break of dawn, despite the fact that you had work early the next day. When you're living with someone, the opportunities for making memories are endless, but so are the ones for fights that feel like they last forever.
There's truly no worse feeling than not feeling comfortable in your own apartment after a huge fight with your roommate. You try to keep things casual, and cross all of your fingers that texting her early in the day will help break the ice a bit. To find out how to approach these touchy subjects in the best way possible, I reached out to psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, the founder of www.lovevictory.com and author of Smart Relationships, and clinical psychotherapist Nicole Richardson, LPC-S, LMFT, for some expert advice on what texts you should send to smooth things over after a fight.
1. “I’m sorry. I messed up ___. Let me know when you are ready to talk.”
Being in the wrong is always difficult. It can be hard to accept that you're the one who pushed the limits and caused most of the drama. But, it can also be very humbling, and a good chance to practice the other side of friendship: one that goes deeper than just watching the Food Network together all day.
According to Richardson, this text is good to send if you're in the wrong and unsure of what your place is going forward in the situation. Maybe you had a bunch of people over when your roommate had work the next day bright and early, or you went on a date with that crush she's been talking about for the past few months. Acknowledging what it is that you did wrong is key, Richardson explains, as is apologizing for your actions. Your roommate is then left to decide when she's ready to talk about the situation, and she can handle it on her own terms. When she does want to sit down and have that conversation, be sure to follow through.
"If you say you are willing to talk, set up a time and protect that time," Richardson tells Elite Daily. "Then, don’t defend, just listen." It's up to you to focus on the present (meaning, put your phone away), and help figure out a better plan for the future.
2. “I know last night was difficult. I would really like to talk through things with you so we can come up with a solution that works for us both.”
If the situation was particularly sticky (and not just because your roommate left the dishes overnight), then you might want to try sending a text that focuses on finding a solution. For example, maybe you two had a fight that started over something small like taking out the trash, but it escalated into getting real about responsibility and how you have a flakey friendship. Richardson suggests that, after a fight like this, this wording in particular can be the perfect way to reach out to your roommate.
"I like this because it neither takes responsibility nor blames," she tells Elite Daily. You may feel tempted to talk it all out over text, and run through what you think really happened. However, Dr. Wish agrees with Richardson: The fight is just "history" at this point, so let the anger go, and focus on finding a solution, instead.
"Extend the olive branch of peace [...] the wronged person could text something that frees them from this destructive loop, and that allows them to 'Play it Forward,'" Wish tells Elite Daily.
In other words, to get back to being comfy in your living space, find a way to put one foot in front of the other. Don't backtrack.
3. "I feel ___ about ____. I need ____."
You and your roommate have probably had at least a few heart-to-hearts by now. If so, talking about your feelings now shouldn't be much different. If you're stuck to texting, and you want to tell the other person where you're coming from in a simple way, then a message formatted like this will definitely put everything out on the table.
When you're trying to come up with a solution to your fight about cleaning the apartment or not being considerate in your shared space, think about what you need from the other person. Richardson says a template like this one will, again, dodge any blaming, and keep the situation from escalating. The last thing anyone wants is to have a whole new fight, or spark an even bigger debate, because when that happens, you may tend to bring up situations that are no longer relevant completely out of nowhere, and you forget what you're even fighting about in the first place. If you feel like things might escalate this way, consider putting some rules down in writing.
"It is optimal for people to try to talk things out, but there are times that just may not be possible," Richardson tells Elite Daily. "If that is the case [...] agree to some written perimeters in writing."
4. "I didn't mean to hurt or upset you. I hope I've been able to let you already know how much I respect and care about you."
At the end of the day, we really just want to know that the people in our lives care about us. We hate fighting, especially with our roommates, because it makes us feel like the bonds we've built are really weak. Saying, "I'm sorry," and reassuring the other person that there are still a lot of positive emotions there, can really help to dissolve a situation.
By adding this extra line to a text to your roommate, Dr. Wish explains, your response is not coming across as sarcastic. She says sentences are always better than short phrases, even over text. For example, this would apply to a situation where you need to put your friendship first, like if a potential date got in the way of your roommate relationship, or you said something inconsiderate about that story she loves to tell from back home.
"Saying 'I'm sorry' usually jump-starts a calming of the negative emotional environment almost instantly," she tells Elite Daily. "But don't stop at texting just 'I'm sorry.' The curtness could make the apology seem shallow."
And when you're sharing a space with someone else, you most definitely want that level of respect to stay strong throughout your time together. According to Richardson, roommate relationships can already be so "complex," without adding on the pressure of feeling comfortable in your own home. In other words, you have to find a balance between being friends and living together, being considerate and standing up for your own needs, and being fun and social while also making time for yourself.
5. "Thank you for the apology. I really appreciate it."
Once you've had the chance to talk things out a bit, be sure to show your roommate some appreciation. Finding a solution and coming to a compromise isn't always easy. No matter what side of the fight you're on, you'll want to recognize the effort the other person put into making things comfortable again. Your roommate might also double as one of your besties, and you'll want things to stay oh-so-sweet moving forward.
"If you are the wronged party, [after some time has passed] text the other person and thank them again for apologizing — or for anything he or she did to make amends — no matter how weakly they did it," Dr. Wish suggests.
Following through this way may seem a bit cliché, or like it's too much, but it will make all the difference in the long-run. For one, it makes both sides feel like they can start moving on, instead of moving out.
6. "I will be more aware and mindful of _____ in the future."
Be sure to send a text that reminds everyone of the solution. If you didn't do the dishes, then mention that you've created a compromise where you both have 24 hours to clean your own mess. Or, if you threw a party without asking your roomie if it would be OK, be sure to say that next time you'll consider your roommate's feelings and reach out ahead of time. You can't change the past, and what's happened is behind you. But, that doesn't mean you have to soak in it forever and feel bad. It just means you both have some work to do going forward.
If you were in the wrong, Dr. Wish says you should "add something that indicates [you] will take positive action in the future so that similar incidents can be avoided."
If you weren't in the wrong, then you should still express your appreciation for the other person's future effort. I know it all sounds very business meeting-esque, but sometimes, adulting can be cheesy and formal, and in these situations, you have to just go with it.
7. "I like living with you, and I want us to get along."
If you follow this texting advice, you and your roommate will probably be hugging it out as besties as soon as the next day. You'll be making weekend plans, going on coffee dates, and taking way too many selfies in between. Sounds so sweet, right? Truth is, when fights happen, we're always so quick to expect the worst. However, things can almost always work out, if you're willing to put in the right time and effort — and send the right texts, of course.
Dr. Wish calls this kind of text, in particular, a "connection statement." Maybe you and your roommate were randomly matched, or decided to live together after bonding over a baked potato (yes, that's happened). No matter what the history is, you're living together now, and you share some sort of connection. A text like this will seal that deal, and remind you both that you really can't live without the other by your side.