They’re messy, you’re clean.
They’re loud, you’re quiet
They want to watch Love Island and you want to watch The Handmaid’s Tale.
Sharing a living space is never easy, whether friend or stranger, it can always be a challenge having to adjust and modify your home to meet the needs of more than one person. In the modern world, sharing a space is often part of adult life. Whether you are carving your way through college or simply trying to save on rent, at some point you will have to deal with the idea of having a roommate. It’s not all doom and gloom; having a roomie can be lashings of fun, but let’s face it – it can also be the source of some drama. We have a few snippets of advice to help you carve out a harmonious home space and deal effectively with problem roomies.
Make Your Room an Oasis
Everyone needs a retreat and as long as you keep your own room a space dedicated to your own desires and needs you will have a sanctuary to escape to when the going gets tough. Having a place you can call your own in a shared house is so important if square footage and finances allow. Design your room to be a nurturing and reflective environment that perfectly captures you. Not only does this give physical space to breathe but also mental space.
Create a Paper Trail
Bills, communal groceries, and the hair-pulling stress of dealing with shared financial factors. We all deal with money in very different ways so you may have to come to terms early with the fact that your housemate has different energy around money. The best way to deal with this is to consider creating a paper trail early. Make a list of what communal items you want to split (toilet roll, washing up, etc), make a clear calendar of when bills are due, and even create a house WhatsApp group so you can share this information without feeling like you are hitting your head against a wall constantly chasing money.
Have a Cleaning Plan
It may feel groanworthy to have a cleaning plan in place but it will save a lot of passive-aggressiveness in the days to come. A frank and honest conversation at the start about your cleaning habits can always come in handy as can a chore preference plan. Some people hate washing up whereas others love vacuuming. If you really can’t see eye to eye on cleanliness and clutter it may be worth having a shared kitty for a weekly cleaning service.
Check Your Conflict Resolution
There are many shades of communication when it comes to conflict resolution and before you get tangled in frustration, it is worth taking a moment to honestly assess how you deal with conflict. Perhaps you veer more towards the passive approach or maybe you go off at the deep end. Navigating healthy boundaries and a harmonious living situation often comes down to how well you and your roommate communicate. If they love to argue and you hate confrontation then there are sure to be problems. Address issues early on, always try to avoid passive-aggressive behaviour, avoid the text meltdown, and go gently into hard conversations. It may be worth reading up on non-violent communication skills to help you get your point across without putting someone on the defence.
Pick Your Battles
Not every fight is a fight worth having. This small mantra can make a big difference when it comes to sharing a house. A harmonious home can be built on the unwritten rule that you should know when to fight a cause and know when to let one go. This approach isn’t just energy saving, but not picking a million battles also means that when you do bring up something that is bothering you it's taken seriously. Before getting bent out of shape over some dirty socks ask yourself – is this really bothering me or is something else going on? Also, check in to see if this issue is something you will care about tomorrow. The age-old sentiment of pause for the cause can truly help curate a softer space.
Do you have tales of terrible roomies? What tips do you have to help us deal? Share your thoughts in the comments.