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Whether you’re living with a partner, a parent, or a roommate, there are times when you may find yourself frustrated or agitated by the habits of your roommates. Those habits aren’t necessarily deal breakers but can cause tension if they’re not addressed. Oftentimes, people don’t realize that they might have some irritating quirks about them. So, how do you share a space with someone successfully? Here are a few things to consider.
Set Your Boundaries
Everyone is different and has their own individual needs and boundaries when it comes to sharing a living space. What’s important is to talk about these things early on so expectations are known and there is no allowance for resentment or frustration. Discuss topics such as personal space, items that are shareable, chores, schedules, money, and expectations of divided responsibilities. For example, if you’re a morning person but your partner is a night owl, it may not be a great idea to throw open the drapes at sunrise while singing in the shower. Respect their choice to sleep in and find a way to fulfill your morning routine so as not to disturb them. If you both work from home and you need privacy or quiet to do your job, explain those needs so that you can both make a decision as to who will work where. By communicating these things up front, cohabitants will have a clear understanding of what one another expects and needs.
Keep Communication Open
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Of course, anyone living together may bicker or argue from time to time – you are both individuals with your own thoughts and opinions. However, with an open line of communication, it’s typically easier to come to a resolution. Communication doesn’t have to be all negative either. If you appreciate something about the other party in your home, let them know. A compliment and some appreciation can go a long way.
Decorate to All Tastes
When living together, you may have to take one for the team when the decisions of design are made, but again, it’s all about compromise and communication. It’s important that all members of the household feel as if it is their home too. There are some areas, like the living room and kitchen, that you’ll all have to compromise on and decide what looks best, but your own room is a dedicated space for you. Or, if you live with a significant other, communicate that you might need a separate space just for you. It’s all about figuring out what works best for everyone.
Do Your Part
Many arguments in a household can stem from one person thinking they’re doing all of the chores and the other is getting a free ride. Nothing brews resentment more than having a lazy housemate, so do your part and be a productive member of the home. Again, communicate with each other, talk about the household chores. Who knows, perhaps one person loves to cook and the other loves to clean, or it may be the case that one roommate prefers to dust and you prefer to vacuum. Once you discuss it, you can typically come to a fair agreement that appeals to all.
Mix It Up
Getting stuck in a routine of lounging on the couch and watching TV can lead to lazy cohabitating. Communication stops and boredom can set in. It may be a good idea to mix things up a few days a week. Play some board games, make dinner together, or have a glass of wine and talk about your day. Make an effort to vary up your activities so that you are interacting as opposed to becoming stagnant.
Home is where the heart is and should be your happy place. Sharing that home with someone can build lifelong relationships if the communication is open and honest. How have you improved your relationship with your roommate, partner, or parent?