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10 Things to Avoid If You Want to Be a Good Roommate

10 Things to Avoid If You Want to Be a Good Roommate

Americans are choosing live with roommates more than ever. The money saving benefits are one of the main reasons so many choose to live with roommates. A noticeable increase in community living situations has taken place in the last decade. About 32% of Americans currently live in a roommate living situation.

Upon entering adulthood I have already lived in eight different homes, all with roommates. I lived with close friends, new acquaintances, siblings, and other family members over the years. The following list of less than ideal “roommate quirks” are common among living scenarios with many people. Maybe you’re already guilty of some of these things? Regardless, it’s important to avoid these annoying lifestyle habits. These roommate dynamics can be a breaking point for many people.

1. Stop leaving your laundry unfinished.

I’ve lived in homes that don’t have a washer and dryer, so I have a huge appreciation for this commonly overlooked convenience. Spending unwanted hours in dingy, crowded laundromats is no fun at all. It seems like a common courtesy but it’s easy to put off your laundry when you’re in the middle of a busy day. Follow through with it and complete your laundry in a respectful time frame. Treasure the fact you have a working washer and dryer, and finish what you’ve started.

Laundry

    via Giphy

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    2. Poor communication usually leads to frustration.

    The barriers of ineffective communication are sometimes hard to break down. Everyone needs to be on the same page, and there has to be a clear cut way to easily get into contact. We live in a world where everyone has cell phones, so utilize that and actually respond to those you live with. Group texts are great because they keep everyone informed and centralize important conversations. In the tech-friendly world we live in, no one has to be left in the dark. But more than anything, make sure what you are communicating is purposeful; stop just talking and start actually communicating!

    3. Casually sampling their food is not okay.

    Quite possibly the most annoying part of living with someone is when they take advantage of your tasty leftovers or casually eat their way through your weekly grocery supply. Roommates are not parental figures (typically) and they don’t want to provide for your lazy ass. Buy your own food, cook your own meals, tie your own shoes, and tread lightly if you absolutely feel the need to be a leftover rogue. It’s only a matter of time before you get caught in the act.

    ponyo gif

      via Bookbyte Blog

      4. Forgetting to pay your bills on time is stressful for everyone.

      Bills are very commonly split among roommates, which in essence makes the process more convenient for everyone. However, the last thing you want is for your roomies to have to pry the money you owe them out of your hands. Keep in mind that if the electric bill is in your roommate’s name and you pay them your portion late, they’ll more than likely have to front the money for you. As in my past experiences, this puts you in a bad spot.

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      5. Messy public areas are irritating.

      I’ll admit it, my bedroom isn’t always the cleanest place and neither is my car sometimes. One thing’s for sure though: the public areas around my house are. Places like the kitchen, bathroom, and even porches and closets can spiral into unorganized chaos. Don’t leave food remnants on your kitchen counters or other areas of your home. Do you want to attract mice and rats and catch the hantavirus?! Didn’t think so. Communicate to your roommates that it’s ideal to have some form of system in place to avoid recurring messes.

      garbage house

        via Huffington Post

        6. Make battles over the thermostat a thing of the past.

        This is a timeless argument. One roommate prefers to live in a freezing cave and the other pinches every penny and refuses to turn the AC on when it’s the middle of July. Discuss the situation, and come to a compromise. It’s literally that simple.

        7. Don’t neglect cleaning the refrigerator.

        I once had an incident in a fridge at a house that I shared with four other people. It involved what I would consider a bag of primordial ooze that I believe was kale at one point in time. When food gets so moldy it’s radiating a toxic scent, it’s definitely time to throw that stuff away and clean out your disgusting refrigerator. It’s amazing how that unknown putrid smell is instantly gone once your fridge is clean and sanitized. You should never have to be afraid of what’s lingering inside the vegetable crisper.

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        catfridge

          via Giphy

          8. Clean the kitchen items everyone shares.

          The kitchen could be the most high-traffic area in your home, especially when you live with people who all cook and eat on different schedules. This can often times lead to bitter feelings tied to finding your prized frying pan covered in bacon grease from three days ago. I’ve seen knives dulled and dishes so dirty that it’s debatable whether they’ll actually ever be clean enough to eat off again. Have you experienced someone who makes pillars out of dirty plates, or collects cups in their room like they are hosting some type of filth museum? Not okay!

          9. For the love of dog, take care of your pets.

          This one should go without saying but it’s astounding that people often times forget about basic levels of care associated with owning a pet. Whether a cat, dog, or chinchilla, routine care like providing fresh food and water daily can get pushed to the back-burner. Just like small children, animals sometimes defecate inside homes. Remember to always clean that crap up—literally.

          On that note, litter boxes can be treacherous territory with the potential to stink up an entire house. If you live with a pregnant roomie, excessively dirty litter boxes can cause birth defects in newborns. You don’t want to live with that guilt. So clean up after kitty, they’d do it themselves if only they had opposable thumbs.

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          dogmixer

            via io9

            10. It’s simple: don’t be a mooch.

            It may seem like it’s easier to be the person who never buys toilet paper, or slyly uses someone else’s laundry detergent like some evil cleaning supply bandit. But ask yourself: do you really want to be the source of a constant headache? Contribute equally and don’t burn bridges. Oftentimes people take a slightly passive aggressive stance with these issues. This is unfortunate and can lead to the whole ordeal getting blown out of proportion. Easy solution: buy your own stuff and don’t be a mooch!

            Have you had a terrible roommate and learned by their mistakes? Post your advice in the comments section below.

            Featured photo credit: neighbor game night by ramsey beyer via flickr.com

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            Robert Parmer

            Freelance Writer

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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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