Living with other people is always going to be stressful. Whether it be living with assigned roommates in dorms, living with friends, or with a spouse, there will always be challenges in sharing a living space with another person. It is essential to internalize early on when living with someone that there will be very different living styles. Some may like to clean a little each day, while others may dedicate a whole day to it to have more time for themselves on the other days. Some people may be early risers in the morning, while others prefer to sleep in and get their work done in the waning hours of the night. Knowing how to deal with the stresses of cohabitation is essential, not just for creating an effective living situation, but also for managing one’s own stresses on a daily basis.
You are Going to Have to Compromise
Each person will have to be compromising a bit when living with another. No two people will live in precisely the same way. It is essential to go into a new living situation by expecting things to be different. Someone will have to give up certain parts of their previous living style to create a healthy, co-habitual atmosphere. However, it is also important to have these changes be compromises, rather than sacrifices. Each person will have to give something to create a healthy living space. It is crucial to set expectations and communication systems early to mitigate any problems during the inevitable transition phase for everyone.
Communication is Key
From the beginning, it is vital to have effective communication with those that one is living with. This means having an open conversation about the compromises early, as well as establishing other communication systems. You may consider using whiteboards or poster boards for various reminders and tasks that need to be accomplished. You should also set parameters for holding discussions or corrections so that conversations are fair between all members.
It is also essential to set expectations as well, especially when it comes to chores or other monetary expenses paid as a group. All must agree, early on, precisely who will be taking care of which chores or costs, and how often. Establish a way for them to be held accountable for those chores and expenses. However, this communication isn’t intended to punish those who shirk responsibility. Instead, practicing this open communication is vital for instances when someone may need help with their duties for whatever reason. With communication, you can establish a way to help them. Consider trading chores for a week, or picking up extra expenses the following month. Set these expectations clearly, and know that these responsibilities may require compromise, such as agreeing to a set temperature for the living space that may be different than what someone grew up with.
Establish Personal Space
Establishing personal space includes two factors. First, establish where someone has control over their own environment. This is most commonly their bedroom. This space is where someone can put up whatever decor makes them comfortable or engage in their own hobbies. If these hobbies involve loud noises, such as practicing guitar, all household members should come to an agreement on appropriate times for this activity. However, establishing personal space also means recognizing others’ personal space and that others’ spaces are their own to decorate and use how they please. By respecting others’ space, others will more likely respect one’s room in return.
Pick Your Battles
Everyone will have to make compromises. Talking about many aspects of the living situation early can help mitigate the chances of disagreements or arguments. When issues do arise when living with another person, it is crucial to pick what things really need to be addressed. Micromanaging others and their responsibilities is a fast way to sow the seeds of disharmony. It is important to remember, at all times, that there is no requirement that someone must stop being themselves. While discussions may be necessary for certain developments, such as when someone takes up a new hobby or consistently isn’t maintaining their chores or financial responsibilities, there may not be a reason to sow these seeds if someone was simply late taking care of the trash one time. Living with another person isn’t easy, but it is a compromise from all parties. While it is important to hold others to their compromises, it doesn’t mean that someone can force a person to live in the exact same way as another.
There is nothing easy about learning to live with another person. Whether you are moving from a sober living home to living on your own, preparing for your first journey into college, or moving out for the first time to live with friends, living with others is complicated and stressful. The professionals at LifeTutors are available to help you create effective living plans that help you understand the intricate interpersonal dynamics and instill the necessary life skills to give you the agency to cope with the stresses while implementing effective strategies. With personal plans available, as well as family plans, there is always a way to take the next step forward with the life coaches at LifeTutors. For more information on the various services and programs available to help you, or simply to speak to a trained staff member about your specific case, call us today at (828) 471-7122.