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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 January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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