From the people you sit next to in class to the people you live with in your dorm, every new space you enter in college is a new opportunity to meet a stranger. Unlike high school where by the time you graduate, you’re surrounded by the same group of people you learned how to read with, college is full of fresh faces with every corner you turn.
That means every group project, leadership team, or housemate squad you’re a part of, there will be a new group of people. This is all fine and well until the inevitable moment when you run into someone that doesn’t quite mesh with your way of thinking.
I’m not talking about political beliefs or music tastes, the kind of conflicts I’m referring to occur on the much broader scale of society. You’re guaranteed to run into at least a handful of people that you don’t understand and simply can’t seem to get along with. But you’ll be forced to figure it out.
Sure, you’ve probably met people you didn’t like for as long as you remember. But up until college, you had some other authoritative to turn to when things got bad. Whether that was parents, teachers, coaches, or someone else, kids have adults to regulate them when they don’t get along – but you’re not a kid anymore.
I’ve had my fair share of petty disagreements and girl drama that amounted to way more stress and wasted energy than they should have. But with each passive aggressive conversation, I’ve gotten better at managing conflict.
College survival tip #7: There’s a lesson to be learned from interaction you have and every person you meet, especially when things don’t go your way.
It’s hard to wrap your brain around why someone can’t get their things done or understand your perspectives, but these challenges are some of the best challenges college can offer you. The reality of life is, you’re going to have to work with people you don’t get along with in the real world.
It’s even harder when the person you don’t get along with is someone that was once one of your closest friends. I’ve experienced that a few times and I can say first hand that it’s tough to accept. But two people growing apart and maturing in separate directions is destined to happen from time to time.
There are many different routes you can take to deal with conflict, but two of them will make your life a whole lot easier.
First, you can try to meet them half-way, or even take a baby step in their direction. That sounds a lot easier than it actually is, but empathetically comprehending where someone’s at and how they think can work wonders in shaping your context and perspective on the issue. Put aside all of your differences and genuinely make an effort to see their side.
Alternatively, you can just walk away. Ending a relationship that’s just not working, beit a classmate or a roommate, is sometimes the best option for everyone’s sake. They may still live in your apartment, but that doesn’t mean you have to have to talk to them every day if they’re bringing toxic energy into your life that you just can’t overcome.
Regardless of how you chose to deal with the situation, look for the bright side in every challenge you face. Recognize how it’s made you stronger and how you’ll use it as a learning experience to apply to the future and you’re better off already!