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I moved into this flat-share last year, we are four in total. People came and left during these following incidents, but the one I'm talking about and I didn't move. My flatmate and I are both university students (she's a lot older than I am). We were quite close to each other in the beginning, right when I moved in. However, things took a nose dive when the school semester started - she misinterpreted my words multiple times subsequently, as I'm not a native speaker.

The first conflict was about me saying "I don't know" in response to her assertion of an origin of a song, instead of saying "I didn't know". She took this as a sign of me doubting her and stopped talking to me angrily.

The second time was she asking me "is wearing headphones all the time impolite?", to which I said "it's okay, for me the most important thing is to say hi in the morning". I thought I had stated my boundaries of the least human interaction, but she took that as an accusation of not saying hi in the morning. She proceeded to say hi to me coldly from that day on.

The last attempt that I had with her was me trying to make things okay. I asked her if I did anything wrong, and if there are things that I can improve. Instead of an open discussion, she told me coldly, "we're not a couple, just get on with life". I was left helpless, living with someone who doesn't want to communicate.

She had complained in the past that she has a problem with the Wi-Fi connection, which I think is a result of a weak signal, as my connection suffers the same issue. I then bought a new router for the whole flat to share, however, she didn't buy that, sent me a message "There are too many waves, please unplug your router" and proceeded to unplug it. I agree that it wasn't nice to not inform her before the purchase, yet I just want to fix a problem that both of us have, with my own money! Furthermore, I understand that there are electro-sensitive people (let's not debate them here for now). What I am sure of is that she isn't one, she uses the induction plate and microwave just fine, both of these emit waves magnitudes more intense than a Wi-Fi router.

She blames me for not telling her before the purchase, but somehow she has quite some posters and plants in the flat without informing us, I'm not a fan of her double standard at all. To this point, I feel like she's targeting me - We have another flatmate who moved in just before this incident, he has a Raspberry Pi connected to the router, yet she didn't say a thing.

To be precise, I need to have a good Wi-Fi signal, I wish we can find a better solution than what is done now. How can I achieve this? Secondly, when she's stepping on my toes, I want to be able to stand my ground with open communication; and when I do something that bothers her, she does the same. Right now our communication style is "no talking, no harm" and I feel like I'm living in a library. I want to put an end to this, how can I achieve this?

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  • It's up to you to decide what you want to attempt to do, to improve the situation. The title says you want to communicate, but your posts mentions multiple problems, so what do you want to communicate?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Aug 29, 2022 at 8:57
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    @Tinkeringbell It boils down to two things: when she's stepping on my toes, I want to be able to stand my ground with open communication ; and when I do something that bothers her, she does the same. Right now our communication style is "no talking, no harm" and I feel like I'm living in a library.
    – Léana 江
    Aug 29, 2022 at 9:02
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    About the WiFi: To my best knowledge there are people who are definitely sensitive to believing that WiFi hurts them. It is real. It's not the WiFi turned on (no evidence there at all) but the belief causing the problem. There's nothing you can do about that. (I had very painful symptoms a while ago for some completely different reasons, that were just about impossible to be real pain, and even 100% knowing that it was all in my mind didn't help. Change in cirumstances did).
    – gnasher729
    Sep 7, 2022 at 9:32

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While the problem with your communications may be the fault of your flatmate - she perhaps doesn't make allowances for your English and is over-sensitive - you haven't said what, if anything, you have done to try and resolve those misunderstandings. Have you apologised, or considered doing that? It is true that some people make it very difficult to have as friends when they repeatedly assume the worst in your words and take offence, but if you know that your words were meant innocently you could try and reason that out with her. If much time has passed since those incidents, bringing them up in detail now might seem like you are the one holding onto the issues, so a better approach might be to ask an open question the next time she is rude to you, such as "have I offended you? If you can tell me what the problem is, perhaps we can resolve it?"

Remember that your living arrangement is a temporary one. You probably wouldn't choose to live with this person if you weren't a student, and if they had been a real friend in your life, you'd probably ditch them if they repeatedly made you feel bad and made no effort to resolve issues. But as it is temporary, apologising for any misunderstanding might just make your environment a little more tolerable for the remainder of your student life, even if it isn't really your fault.

Regarding the WiFi router issue - it seems that could be resolved by an alternative technical solution. Tech advice isn't really the remit of this site, but avoiding unnecessary conflict and seeking peaceful solutions certainly is, so if a technical solution allowed you to do that it might be worth exploring. If the device you want to connect also has an ethernet socket (eg a laptop or desktop computer) then you could purchase a pair of powerline adapters. One plugs into the back of the existing router, the other goes in the room with your device, and the network is carried along your property's power lines rather than transmitted like wifi. A second consideration if you only have wireless devices is to check and possibly update the channel that your existing WiFi router transmits on. Many signal issues, especially intermittent ones, are due to conflicts with the routers in neighbouring properties. There are also different frequencies that can be used - 2.4ghz is standard and has a good reach; 5ghz is faster but doesn't have quite the same reach. You'll need to research this yourself, but if you find it could be improved you could make changes and nobody would know.

Even if your flatmate refuses to resolve issues with you, offering to do so demonstrates to the other flatmates that you are a peacemaker, whereas keeping quiet and ignoring her could seem that the problem lies with you.

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