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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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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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