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Things That Only Friends Who Used To Live Together Can Relate To

Things That Only Friends Who Used To Live Together Can Relate To

Living with someone can be a logistic nightmare, and you can never really tell what you are in for, even if you move in with a great friend. There’s an entirely different dynamic at work – one that neither of you have explored before – and if you manage to click on one more level it creates a deep bond of trust and respect that very few things can compare to.

Having had the good fortune of sharing a home with a long-time friend for a while, I can honestly say that are certain things that you can only understand if you’ve spent a lot of time cooped up in the same apartment with someone you know well. There are too many little details to cover in a single article, but here are ten of the most memorable things that stay with you and change you.

1. Moving in together is an adventure you’ll fondly remember for the rest of your days

Moving in with a friend is a huge lifestyle change, and even if you are both easy to get along with and do things by the book, there can still be a lot of stress involved. However, as they say, the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire. A little bit of adversity is what will ultimately help you become a more capable, mature and responsible person, and the things you and your roommate had to go through will always have a special place in a corner of your mind.

2. Going your separate ways is almost like a divorce

This might sound a bit over the top, but when you really think about it, you see that it makes a lot of sense. You go over a few basic steps in both divorce and when moving out:

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  • There’s an emotional mix of excitement and sadness
  • You go over detailed list of your stuff and try to split it up fairly
  • You feel anxious because you know you’ll have to get used to a new roommate all over again
  • The prospect of living alone makes you a little anxious
  • It’s an end of an era, and you feel compelled to go out with a bang

The whole situation is stressful – much less than divorce, but still – everything feels weird and there is plenty of uncertainty in your mind, but you can’t wait to give your new life shot. Luckily, you’ll have Skype to help you get through that initial shock.

3. It’s hard when no one gets your random TV show references

There’s nothing I loved more than to have someone laugh at my incredibly obscure reference, or at my attempts at a joke that borrowed themes from several shows that no one seems to watch. My roommate and I had a penchant for quality British television, but, for some inexplicable reason, no one else knew anything about them.

Oh sure, they’ve all heard of “that doctor guy, the one with the blue phone booth,” but I gave up trying to explain it to them after my fiftieth consecutive joke fell flat. I guess we all have some guilty pleasures, but it’s no fun when you can’t share it with someone.

4. People can be vastly different, yet complement each other’s characters perfectly

I would’ve never thought it possible, but I actually managed to get along great with a musician. It may not seem like much, but even though I have a creative mind and enjoy art, I never really thought about music in terms other than music that I like and music that I don’t like, party music and relaxing music. However, it turns out that you can dissect a song quite thoroughly and talk for hours about scales, genres and so on.

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My roommate taught me quite a few things like that and he was great at haggling, while I, in turn, helped him learn his way around a computer, how not to turn all your white laundry pink and generally dealt with minor fixes around the home. A grumpy techy and a laid-back artist sound like a pairing straight out of a comedy show, but you find that you can help each other out in areas that the other one is not really good at. You’d be surprised how easily you can get used to someone after living with them for a while.

5. There is now a permanent yardstick based on which all future cohabitants will be measured

The bad thing about hitting it off and getting used to living with someone is that it’s easy to get set in your ways. This means that you’ll have a certain way of doing things and anyone that comes to live with you afterwards is going to have habits that will annoy you, simply because they’re different then what you’re used to.

If your roommate liked to keep everything squeaky clean and never really asked for help unless you offered it yourself, it’s easy to think that someone who likes to make a list of chores and assign everyone something is actually a difficult and bossy person. You end up saying things like, “Well, so and so never gave me grief about the little stuff, and we got along just fine for years.”

6. You really get to know a person when you’ve both hit financial rock bottom

Being fresh out of college, my friend and I had a substantial debt to pay. Even though we were lucky to get jobs that were interesting and paid well soon after finishing school, there were times when we had to really buckle down. We’d burn through most of our money within a couple of weeks, and then subsist on cheap pasta, pastries and whatever was on sale for the rest of the month. It’s then that we both learned a lot about each other that we never knew about before.

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First of all, my friend took charge by doing some research and suggesting that we should take a new route – start saving up and consolidate student loans. I’ve never found the guy to be the financial savvy type before, or one to take matters into his own hands come to think of it, but when he presented me with tons of details and showed a willingness to do what it takes, I knew that this was something he had in him all along.

He just never had the chance to take the initiative before, because he never had someone else depend on him. The fact that we weren’t screaming at each other all day and complaining showed me that some people give their very best when they are at their worst.

7. Even years down the road, you can get your point across with a single look

A side-effect of spending a good part of each day with someone is that you gain a near telepathic ability to communicate without uttering a single word. It’s usually when you’re with a bunch of other friends that this ability truly shines – someone says something awkward or tries too desperately to be funny, and you just shoot a sideways glance at your friend, whose eyes are already rolling. It’s these priceless little moments that you end up missing the most.

8. You bore everyone to death with your roommate stories at every get-together

After a few years, there will be tons of little disasters, funny moments, heated or dangerous situations that only seem funny after a bunch of time has passed. It’s quite natural to want to reminisce once you meet up with an old friend who you shared all these exciting moments with, and quite few boring ones as well, but those around you won’t really appreciate it. Others will often feel excluded during your long-winded stories of what life was like back in the day, but you just won’t be able to help yourself.

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9. You catch yourself doing the same things that you used to tease your friend for

During the first few weeks of living together, I used to tease my friend about his unhealthy obsession with turning off all the lights in the apartment except the one that was absolutely necessary. It just seemed like something a secluded vampire hermit would do, but I recently caught myself running around my home and switching off lights because the TV provided more than enough light and there was no need to waste electricity.

I remembered my friend, let out a few mumbled cuss words and laughed. On the other hand, I heard that he now puts butter in every meal and double checks all the doors and windows as a safety precaution before going to bed, so some of my annoying habits must have rubbed off on him too, and worked out well for him.

10. No matter how hard you screw up, you’ll always have one number you can call

In the end, the most rewarding thing about living with a friend is that once you’ve earned a deeper level of trust and respect, you know that there will always be someone who feels like its their duty to help you out when you’re in need – no matter how much trouble you’re in or how insignificant a problem may seem to someone else.

I can count my good friends on the fingers of one hand, but if push came to shove and I needed to talk to someone at three in the morning or needed to bury a body, I know who’d answer the phone and remember to bring work gloves so we wouldn’t get blisters while digging.

I’m sure anyone who’s been in a similar situation will agree when I say that even though there is a certain sense of freedom you get when living on your own or with a partner, living with a true friend really opens your eyes to a lot of things. You learn a lot, not only about the other person, but about yourself and people in general as well. Just don’t let the nostalgia get to you, and stop teasing your ex-roommate about those dishes she broke when she was drunk or that weird girl he brought home from the club one night.

More by this author

Vladimir Zivanovic

CMO at MyCity-Web

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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