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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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            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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