Wherever people are, politics will be. This is especially true when it comes to the place where you lay your head down after a long day at the grind. The last thing you want is the stress of the workplace following you back to your safe haven.
Understand that you’re living with other people and people as we all know can be a little unpredictable. Tread lightly. If you’re not on top of your game, the living room could become a bloodbath.
You want to avoid confrontations with roommates at all costs. However, fret not. With a little groundwork, everyone is going to get out of this alive.
It’s everybody’s responsibility to create a space that’s a joy to come home to but if, on the other hand, you (or someone else) gets in the way of that or doesn’t step up to the plate, things could get a little messy…
No BFFs past this point
Unless you’ve lived together before, sharing an apartment with your bestie is generally NOT a good idea.
That person you thought you knew? Guess what, it’s probably not going to be a slumber party on steroids.
Your friend’s messiness might have been nothing when you spent the night at his house every couple of weeks but it is now in your personal space. Here’s a tip: Start fresh.
Black and white
You’ll be surprised how putting pen to paper can sort out alot of issues before they even begin.
Are you buying your own food? Can your roommate use your last can of baked beans and replace it later? You might want to share each others’ schedules (so you know when the other is busy) and yes, it’s not a bad idea to have a contract in writing.
Having a roommate agreement that clarifies all the details is a very good way of ironing out every single thing that can arise between you before issues actually come about.
It begins with a peace offering
So, you’ve made the decision to coexist in close proximity with a complete stranger. You’re practically shaking with anticipation and wonder. What if my roomie leaves pineapple and anchovy pizza under the couch cushions?
Author of Roomies: Sharing Your Home with Friends, Strangers, and Total Freaks, Kathryn Williams says that an icebreaker outing goes a long way.
Try having a roommate night so you can get to know each other abit (watch a movie…etc).
The little things
Sometimes a simple ‘Thank you for cleaning the fridge’ can do wonders. Studies have also shown that practicing gratitude can do wonders for your own health and happiness too.
You may not want to get too chummy though. it’s always good to maintain some personal space.
Note to self: Refill the toilet paper if you’ve used the last one, it’s common courtesy
Caption: Forgetting to reload this bad boy might be the last thing you ever do in your life
Honesty is the best policy, communication is everything
Roommate problems are a lot like a cold, treat it early and it won’t turn into bronchitis. Be honest and sort the small stuff out early.
Your speech tone is very important as well as choosing the right words.
Everybody has their little quirks (some may not talk to people first thing in the morning). Discuss and understand each others’ pet peeves very early on.
Realize that communication (due to various understandings of the same words) can be an issue. Bottom line: Don’t assume that everyone’s idea of clean is exactly the same…
Clean is a relative term Neo…
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Take a look in the mirror
There’s alot to be said about living with your opposite. You know what they say right? You are the company you keep so if you’re a shy person, living with someone who’s outgoing can do the trick. Also, when you bunk with a person who’s your opposite, you can harness each others’ strengths and back up each others’ weaknesses, creating a super household.
Help! My roommate is taking over my life…
Like the creepy roommate from the movie Single White Female, if your roommate is beginning to resemble you a little too closely, you may have something to worry about.
Establish boundaries very early on before any funny stuff like borrowing your clothes faster than you can wash them or taking your toiletries can arise.
Rule of thumb: Don’t use anything that isn’t yours without asking first
Blackmail is illegal and uncool
Try not to keep close track of everything you do for your roommate and then try to get them to return the favor.
Do things for each other without expecting anything in return. What’s the worst that can happen?
Ponder deeply before attempting a romantic relationship
If your roommate is of the opposite gender, assume that you are both going to be co-existing in a blissful platonic relationship.
If it seems a romantic relationship might arise between you an your roomie, consider that you might have to find another roommate down the road.
Share a life-form
No, I’m not necessarily talking about having a kid with your roommate.
Because you are practically strangers, raising a pet or a small plant together is a great way to share ownership over a living thing that means something to both of you.
This can be a source of mutual pride when you see it grow and flourish under your magnificent touch…
If problems do arise (as they are almost sure to), practice empathy and recognize the other person’s point of view (agreeing abit sometimes helps to diffuse tension).
Instead of an awkward and intense face to face confrontation, why not make use of technology and try texting (or a messaging app like WhatsApp).
By hiding our true feelings behind smiling winking emojis, things have the opportunity to get straightened out without escalating.
Technology, helping people hide like never before
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All in all, positive energy helps create a relaxing, calm environment where trivialities are just that, trivialities.
With the proper skills and preparation, having a roommate isn’t a problem and can actually be a great opportunity to expand your horizons, learn about yourself and have someone to talk to when the going gets rough.
However, if that doesn’t work, just remember, headphones are your friend…
Is this thing on? I can still smell your breath…
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