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5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

5 Reasons Why You Should Have Total Strangers as Roommates

Nowadays, it is fairly common for people living in big cities to decide against staying at their mom and dad’s house or on their own. Instead, it’s becoming more and more common for people to live with people who are not blood relations. You know this, of course, being the up-to-date cosmopolitan that you are. But what you may not know is that there are multiple benefits offered to those who take this one step further by deciding to have total strangers as roommates. These benefits include:

1. You Learn to Communicate And Speak Your Mind in a Healthy Way.

If you are living with family, they have likely known you since birth. Therefore, in a lot of communication, you likely rely on your family understanding your body language and the things you don’t say. Even long-term friends who become roommates can understand you in a similarly intimate way. When you decide to have strangers as roommates, you have no such luxury. Every time something annoys you in the slightest, you have to say something, because there is no way these newly-made-intimate strangers are going to know your peccadilloes without having them spelled out.

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2. You Expand Your Social Network.

If you decide to keep living in the same space and spending time doing the same things you’ll likely continue to see the same people. And, as Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” In the same sense, if you desire to meet new people and be exposed to fresh ideas, there’s nothing that will get you integrated into a new group of people as quickly as having strangers as roommates. You open up a whole new network of potential friends, loves, and business contacts just by sharing a living space with people you didn’t previously know.

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3. You Save Money and Live Somewhere You Otherwise Couldn’t Afford.

Millennials are often said to be overly concerned with money, having come of wage-earning age during the Global Financial Crisis, so if there’s one reason you should consider having strangers as roommates, it’s the extra cash you will have in your wallet at the end of each month. I, myself, am about to move in with a few strangers into a townhouse on the West Side of Chicago. I am going to have the top-floor bedroom of this four-storey all to myself, along with ample living space and multiple bathrooms. With the average price of a single bedroom apartment in Chicago approaching $1,600 a month, what I am getting for the price I am paying is a steal.

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4. You Will Learn Which of Your Possessions You Truly Need to Survive.

In moving in with strangers, you will likely have to negotiate concerns over shared space and how much of your “stuff” you can actually haul into this new home. Accordingly, you will find out that your prized Wolfgang Puck Howitzer-Style Cappuccino Maker is not something that is essential to your survival, but, rather, is a fictional appliance I just made up on the spot. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that your new roommates Keurig machine works just fine in delivering caffeine directly to your blood stream.

5. You’ll Learn How to Be Friendly With People Without Necessarily Having to Be Friends With Them.

The skill of being cordial and friendly with people you don’t know (and may actually want to maintain a distance from) is something that is very valuable in work settings, especially in offices. You’ll have to learn how to have your new roommates like you, and feel warmly towards you, without having them know every detail of your life– or having to eat every meal with them. Trust me, this is a skill that is not easily obtained, but is one that is needed in many circumstances.

Featured photo credit: Peek/MJZ Photography via compfight.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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