The NY Times tells us that they simply don’t:

“It used to be: ‘Let’s sit down and talk about it,’ ” he says. “Over the past five years, roommate conflicts have intensified. The students don’t have the person-to-person discussions and they don’t know how to handle them.”

The problem is most dramatic among freshmen; housing professionals say they see improvement as students move toward graduation, but some never seem to catch on, and they worry about how such students will deal with conflicts after college.

Administrators speculate that reliance on cellphones and the Internet may have made it easier for young people to avoid uncomfortable encounters. Why express anger in person when you can vent in a text? Facebook creates even more friction as complaints go public. “Things are posted on someone’s wall on Facebook: ‘Oh, my roommate kept me up all night studying,’ ” says Dana Pysz, an assistant director in the office of residential life at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s a different way to express their conflict to each other.”

Dissatisfied students rarely take up an offer from a resident adviser to mediate, Mr. Pysz says. “With mediation you have to have buy-in from both,” he says. “We don’t have a lot of mediation. We have a lot of avoidance.”

In recent focus groups at North Carolina State University, dorm residents said they would not even confront noisy neighbors on their floor.

“It was clear from the focus groups that the students expect the R.A.’s to keep the floors quiet,” says Susan Grant, the university’s director of housing.

Amazing and parents only seem to exasperate the conflict:

Administrators point to parents who have fixed their children’s problems their entire lives. Now in college, the children lack the skills to attend to even modest conflicts. Some parents continue to intervene on campus.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I am talking to a student and thinking I am making headway and the student gets out their phone and says, ‘Can you talk to my mom about this?’ ” Mr. Kane says. Or housing officials field calls from parents pleading or demanding that the college get involved in a dispute, only for the officials to discover that the dispute was little more than a minor irritation, if anything.

So, students…how do you handle conflicts? What are the things that you do to solve the disagreements that you have with roommates, friends, professors, noisy folks, girlfriends, etc.?

How about us non-students? Do the way we handle conflicts change? I’ll say this, I handle most of my customer service fiascos over the internet when I can. When that doesn’t work I just unleash my wife on them, who somehow is able to get things satisfied, even if it takes a long conversation.

Read the rest of the Times article here. And thanks to the esteemed scholar, Dr. Rachel Bundang for pointing me here today,

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