Before Caitlin decides what to do about her conflict with Rachel, she needs to be clear about what is going on, and what is really important to her. Let’s hear from Caitlin about what’s been going on from her perspective:
Let’s unpack what is going on from Caitlin’s perspective:
1. What are the facts?
Consider the following questions:
What does Caitlin actually know?
Caitlin’s food items in the kitchen are being used without her permission. Sometimes she has seen Rachel using them (e.g. when she was using her milk in her coffee) but other times she hasn’t actually seen who has taken her food.
What has she assumed?
That it is Rachel who is using her things (not another one of her flatmates)
Rachel never replaces anything
Caitlin has been giving Rachel really strong hints that she shouldn’t use her things but Rachel hasn’t got any of her hints
What evidence does she have?
The food that is used
Could anyone else have other information that might change things?
Is there anyone else who shares the house or who has access to the kitchen who could be using Caitlin’s food?
Is it true that Rachel has NEVER replaced anything?
Does Caitlin ever use Rachel’s food?
What information might Rachel have about the situation? (For example, has Rachel actually picked up on any of Caitlin’s hints?)
Caitlin generally likes living with Rachel and they mostly get on really well
2. What is Caitlin feeling?
When Rachel’s in the kitchen, even if she’s not using her things she ‘feels’ like she is and that’s causing a problem
The situation is getting to her
She’s at her wits end
3. What’s really important?
What could be Caitlin’s underlying reasons for wanting this situation to change? Sometimes people get focused on a particular outcome and don’t realise that it is not actually the most important thing to them. A useful question to ask yourself is “why do I want this particular outcome?”
For example, Caitlin may want Rachel to stop taking her food, but if we asked her to explain why she wanted that, her reasons could be:
She doesn’t have a lot of money to keep buying food for other people to eat
She plans her meals according to what food she has bought for the week and so it is inconvenient when ingredients are missing
She feels disrespected because Rachel doesn’t ask first
She had a bad experience in a previous share house arrangement and this situation is making her remember that
If Caitlin takes some time to really think about what is important to her she will be able to make a better decision about what her options are.
We have put together a worksheet that you can use to get clearer about what’s going on? in your own conflict.