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7 Struggles You and Your Roommates Don’t Need To Always Go Through

7 Struggles You and Your Roommates Don’t Need To Always Go Through

There may be many reasons that inspire you to share a room or living space with someone during your lifetime. Perhaps you are studying and living in halls, or maybe you have just moved in with a partner and are beginning to share bills and living costs. You may even be sharing space as a way of reducing the daily cost of living, with a view to saving more and building towards a longer-term financial goal.

Living with others can take its toll over time; however, as it can create significant issues regarding finances, cleanliness and the invasion of personal space. Many of these struggles can be easily avoided, so long as you enter the arrangement with an open mind and are fully prepared for what lies ahead.

Here are some examples of common problems facing roommates.

1. You struggle to share and pay household bills

Whenever you share a living space, it is important to distribute the responsibility and payment of bills fairly. While you have the autonomy to share recurring bills in a fair way that suits each individual and takes into account their own requirements, this sudden change in your financial circumstances can cause tension and confusion in terms of repayment dates. You will therefore need to negotiate to create an arrangement that satisfies everyone involved.

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Thanks to technology these days,automated tools such as Unbill can help you evenly split and pay bills automatically. This type of all-in-one payment solution comprehensively resolves the financial issues facing roommates.

2. You struggle to manage other shared responsibilities

On a similar note, you may have additional responsibilities that force you and a roommate to invest both money and time. This can also become problematic over time, especially if roles are not clearly defined and one individual believes that they are doing more than the other. Take the ownership of a pet, for example, which consumes a huge amount of time and also triggers a number of recurring annual fees.

You must therefore have a clearly defined plan for managing this responsibility, both in terms of sharing fees and distributing the workload of tasks, such as grooming and ensuring that your pet gets their daily exercise. You should also look to be proactive and ease the burden of pet ownership where possible.

3. You struggle to understand and communicate with one another

Unless you choose to share a living space with an old and trusted friend, you may struggle to fully understand and communicate with your roommate. Even with a pre-existing relationship, individuals can evolve and develop interests that you find unusual or even unappealing.

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In order to maintain a prosperous friendship and harmonious living arrangement, it is therefore crucial that you look to maintain open lines of communication at all times, while looking to identify any potential issues or concerns before they have a detrimental impact on the relationship.

4. You struggle to maintain a tidy home

Cleanliness is a divisive issue at the best of times, as we each have our own individual standards and ideas of what constitutes a tidy and clean interior. It can therefore represent a major struggle between roommates, as one looks to maintain a pristine interior while the other is happy to live in a cluttered or slightly messy space. You can only avoid this issue by addressing it in a proactive manner, as you each share your expectations and the standards that you hope to be maintained over time.

This will lay the foundations for a productive cleaning rotation, which distributes tasks fairly and according to each individual’s standards. You will also need to be willing to compromise; however, as it is only fair that you should assume responsibility for the majority of the cleaning if you have more exacting standards.

5. You struggle to prevent the kitchen from becoming a war zone

House or flat sharing also requires you to share each individual room. This can create a number of potential issues in popular and communal spaces such as the kitchen. This can quickly become a battleground, especially in instances where you or one of your roommates owns the property in question. Sharing a kitchen requires patience, tolerance, and most importantly organisation, as otherwise tensions will rise while mess and chaos reign supreme.

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The first step is to organise food and drink supplies, ensuring that you either contribute equally to a communal source or have your own carefully marked and separated items. You must then determine core cooking and cleaning duties, whether you use a fairly apportioned rotation or ensure that each individual has responsibility for cleaning their own mess or space. Clarity is crucial to this process, while responsibilities must be agreed upon and clearly communicated at all times.

6. You struggle to cope with external relationships

We have already discussed how evolving relationships can make it difficult for roommates, but this becomes even more challenging when sharing a living space with another couple. This type of external relationship can even pose a problem if your roommate and their partner live apart, as you are forced to deal with an outside influence that can place a strain on your friendship and arrangement.

So long as your roommate and their partner remain empathetic, this should not cause a huge issue. The main problem may well revolve around your own feelings and insecurities, especially if you feel inadequate when you are not involved in a long-term relationship. If this is the case, you must look to deal with feelings in a proactive manner, and address them prior to moving in with others.

7. You struggle to respect one another’s privacy

Maintaining privacy and personal space is a huge issue for roommates, even those who know each other well. In fact, this kind of familiarity can breed even more significant issues, as boundaries can easily be worn down and blurred over time. It therefore makes it difficult to maintain personal boundaries, which in turn makes it easier to cross these and create tension in relationships.

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To avoid this, you must create a list of core rules that remain unchanged regardless of the changes in your friendship. These include not entering your house-guest’s rooms while they are not there, while you should always knock before invading their own private space. You will also need to understand each other’s tolerances and factor these into any rules.

Featured photo credit: Couple of young men talking on the stairs of an office via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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