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Whether you live with a roommate, a partner, or a parent, there are times when you may find yourself frustrated or agitated by the habits of those who share your living space. You may not categorize those habits as deal-breakers, but they can create friction if they’re not addressed. Quite often, people don’t even realize that they might have some irritating quirks. Here are a few tips to successfully share a living space with someone:
Every person has their own individual needs and boundaries when it comes to living with someone else. It’s important to talk about these things early on, so expectations are understood and there is no room for resentment or frustration later on. Thoroughly discuss topics like personal space, items that are shareable, chores, schedules, money, and divided responsibilities. Here’s an example—if you’re a morning person and your partner is a night owl, it may not be a great idea to throw open the drapes at 6am, then go off to sing in the shower. Respect their choice to sleep later and find a way to fulfill your morning routine while not being disruptive. If you both work from home and you require privacy or quiet to do your job, explain those needs so you can both decide who will work where. By communicating these things in advance, cohabitants will have a clear understanding of what one another expects and needs.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Communication is crucial for any successful relationship. Of course, everyone sharing a living space may disagree or bicker from time to time—we’re all individuals with our own thoughts and opinions. However, when you keep the lines of communication open, it’s always easier to come to a resolution. Communication doesn’t only need to occur when problems arise, either. If you appreciate something about the other party in your home, be sure to let them know. A compliment and a show of appreciation can go a long way.
Collaborate on Design
When cohabitating, you may have to relax your demands on design decisions. Again, it’s all about compromise and communication. Every member of the household should feel as if it’s their home too. Obviously, your bedroom is your own space but the common areas, like the living room and kitchen, will require compromise. Or, if you live with a significant other, be sure to communicate if you might need a separate space to yourself. It all comes down to figuring out what works best for everyone.
Do Your Share
Commonly, household arguments can stem from one person thinking they’re doing all of the chores and the other is getting a free ride. There’s no bigger contributor to resentment than having a lazy housemate, so do your share and be a productive member of the household. Once again—communicate with each other. Who knows, maybe one person loves to cook and the other loves to clean, or maybe one roommate prefers to dust and you’d prefer to vacuum. Through discussion, you should have no trouble coming to a fair agreement that works for everyone.
Your home your sanctuary and should be your happy place. Working from a place of mutual respect and consideration should guarantee you’ll have a positive experience.