Working in residential life will inevitably involve challenging conversations with residents, some we may know well and some we may not know at all. While we at the Intergroup Dialogue Project don’t work in residential life, the worries about opening up challenging conversations are familiar. Because of this shared concern about challenging conversations, IDP has developed a list of guided reflection questions in consultation with West Campus House System leaders. We hope this guide will help you feel more equipped for challenging conversations with residents.
We offer the suggestions below to help you feel more prepared for challenging conversations with residents and to supplement (not replace) the protocols and procedures from training. Furthermore, these suggestions are malleable — we encourage you to adapt them. We imagine this not just being a resource to use individually but something to work through together with your AD/RHD before and after a resident conversation. We hope that it can guide reflection on challenging conversations and your growth in your residential life position.
At the same time, we recognize that we can’t always anticipate when conversations with residents will be challenging. For this reason, we encourage you to have a general familiarity with information in this document and to return to it when you need a refresher.