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10 Things to Expect When You Move in Together

10 Things to Expect When You Move in Together

It’s the end of summer when people all over the country are seeing their leases end and are about to move. Some of those people are couples preparing to move in together. Girding their loins, perhaps. Certainly counting all that extra money they think they’ll have from combining bills.

Let’s pretend that you know what you’re doing. But you don’t, and we should talk a bit about what you should expect.

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    What? You don’t need any advice, you say? You’ve had roommates for years and are a wonderful molten ball of awesomeness magma as a roommate yourself? Oh, and you spend “practically every night together”? Yeah, it’s still different.

    Shut it and listen, kiddo. Pull out your college-ruled paper and #2 pencils, folks, it’s time to get schooled.

    And so now it is time for some sage advice from this generation’s Dear Abby. YOU’RE WELCOME, WORLD.

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    1. It is nothing like having a roommate

    Well, in the sense that you are sharing a room, yes. Otherwise, no. When you move in with your significant other, it’s very very different than when you’re living with a stranger or a good friend.

    Example: Remember how the whole first year of dating, you never farted in front of him? That will change. You know how you always shaved your legs before going out with him and maybe he assumed you were magically clean-shaven all of the time? NOPE. NOT ANYMORE.

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      2. You are gross sometimes (and he’s gross most of the time)

      It’s true. Those Saturdays that you never showered or dressed or left the house, and you were gloriously dirty and all alone and could eat cheese all afternoon while watching Bravo? Or having cereal for dinner out of the same bowl a couple days in a row?He never saw those. And now he will. He will see them because even if you try for the first couple of months to pretend that you’re a hair-brushed, beautiful and clean-shaven person all of the time, it won’t last. For several reasons.

      One, eventually you’re going to realize that you can’t be “on” all the time. You’re not on a date, you’re at home, which is your safe haven, your sanctuary, your relaxed space. At some point, you’ll realize all that extra effort is draining and silly. Yu just want to be your normal self. Two, your dude will have zero problemwith being himself around you. He will burp, and fart and then laugh. He’ll scratch his butt, maybe pick his nose if he thinks you aren’t looking, and he will be his normal gross-boy self. You still love him. Why wouldn’t he love you? And three, he will catch you. He will walk into the room just as you fart and then laugh at you, and suddenly you’ll realize that it’s no big deal.

      3. Your days of truly private space are at an end

      When you live in an apartment with roommates, if you want to be alone, you can just go into your room and shut the door. When you live with your mate, you don’t have “my” space anymore. You have “our” shared space. At first, it feels weird, like a big adjustment. And it is, but you’ll get used to it. You have to talk to your partner.

      If you need some private space, tell them. Not in a mean way, just explain “Hey, I want to go spend some time alone, ok? I’m not mad or anything, I just want to hang out by myself for awhile.” They’ll get it. Maybe they need some alone time, too, and didn’t know how to say it without risking upsetting you. Everyone needs their own space sometimes, it’s no big deal. For me, my “me time” is going to the gym. I get to get out of the house for a bit, and he is perfectly happy to get some alone time, too.

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      4. You don’t have to do everything together

      There might be times, especially at first, when you’re spending every moment at home together, watching movies, taking walks, maybe shopping for furniture or decorating the apartment. But as time goes by and the “OMG we live together!!!” feeling moves more into “Hey, babe, I’m home” feeling, you start to adjust to each other’s schedules and moods. There will be plenty of times that he’ll be on the computer and you’re watching TV, or you are reading a book in the bedroom, and he’s watching a movie. You definitely don’t need to spend every moment engaged in an activity together. And you wouldn’t want to. So, don’t feel bad, when you realize that you don’t WANT to go to Best Buy with him, or he doesn’t feel like going to bed yet, just because you are.

      5. You’re going to argue

      Even if you’ve never really had much of a fight before, you will now. Moving in together is a huge adjustment, and you’re meshing your lives and routines together. It’s inevitable that you’ll argue. Maybe not about what you think, too. Maybe you imagine that you’ll argue about how much you love each other, or wedding details, or about the exact percentage of happiness you have. But you cannot be happy all of the time.

      Most of your arguments will likely be about stupid stuff, like you wanting him to go run errands for the house and he just doesn’t feel like it. Or you guys agreed to do some cleaning, and you just won’t turn off the TV to get started. Or maybe you get frustrated and bored, and you just pick a minor fight. It happens, it’s not that big of a deal and you just need to make sure that you can communicate effectively and explain how you feel, and most importantly, listen to how the other person feels.

      6. Communication becomes even more important

      Talk about everything. Talk out arguments that same day. Discuss what you’ll have for dinner tomorrow. Ask about each other’s days. Make sure you also talk about the important bigger stuff too, like your future, and kids, and where you’ll spend Thanksgiving and Christmas, thedivision of household labor, how the bills will get paid, whether you want pets, who gets a spare set of keys to your place, and more. Talk about everything, and make sure that you know how to communicate on both the big and small things. The little things will build and fester if you don’t bring them up. You cannot bottle up something that bothers you, that isn’t healthy. And how can your partner know it bothers you and

      Talk about everything, and make sure that you know how to communicate on both the big and small things. The little things will build and fester if you don’t bring them up. You cannot bottle up something that bothers you, that isn’t healthy. And how can your partner know it bothers youand stop doing itif you never say anything?

      7.One or both of you are mad about something

      There will be times one or both of you are mad about something that has nothing to do with your relationship and there is nothing you can do about it.

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      It’s true. Sometimes we get in bad moods without much of a reason why. It might not be fair to take that out on each other, but you’re the only two people around, and it can happen. Sometimes they don’t WANT to be cheered up, they just want to wallow in it. Deal with it. As long as you know that their bad mood isn’t your fault or the result of something that happened between the two of you, move on.

      Go chill somewhere else or leave the house for a while and let them wallow and cool down on their own. We can all use a good wallowing pity-party now and again. Also, try not to ask “Are you SURE you aren’t mad at me?” Just like being told to relax, doesn’t ever relax anyone, asking over and over only makes them annoyed andyes, maybe mad at you.

      8. You’ll have to apologize

      There will be times when you say something stupid, or do something dumb, or jump to an unfortunate assumption, or just happen to say or do something that was misinterpreted or came out wrong. If you’re wrong, apologize.

      Staying mad solves nothing, and you have to work on communicating well. Apologizing and moving on is important. Being stubborn doesn’t solve anything and if you refuse to admit you’re wrong, you will make things worse. Acknowledge your wrongdoing, apologize, and move on.

      9. Make sure you decorate together

      No matter what your partner says, make sure you go togetherto buy any furniture, curtains, bathroom shelves, and wall art. It’s stuff you both have to like, or at least look at, every day. And honestly, I loved when we were decorating our place together.

      Our apartment is homey and warm and welcoming. There is nothing about our place that says “This is a sitting room for seeing only, not to play in.” It is also not a college dorm. It’s actually kind of adult-y and awesome. No posters tacked to the walls, no futons, not even a single corkboard. Our place has comfy furniture with some nice colored accents, lamps and clocks all over the place, a big TV, and pictures of us and our families on the wall, along with some framed prints. It’s a bonding experience to put a home together, and it will make the place truly feel like both of yours.Besides, would you really trust him to go off and buy a couch alone??

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        I am not trying to say that living together is going to suck. It doesn’t, it’s simply different. I’m letting you know that what you think it will be like, from living with your family or random roommates, is kind of wrong.

        Living together is super-mega-flippin’ awesome

        It really is. It takes adjustment, communication, and compromise, and learning to share all of your space, and some occasional “the toilet seat goes DOWN” training, but it’s great. I love coming home to him every day. Someone who, no matter how terrible (or great) a day has been, wants to hear about it, listens, makes sympathetic noises, and gives you a hug. Someone I can ask how their day went, and listen. Those few minutes when I first get home are like our time. No matter who might be over, or what happened that day, we spend a couple of minutes, just the two of us.

        When I’m bored on the weekends, I have someone to annoy. When either of us is in a bad mood, we have someone to talk us off the ledge. There is a constant thread of support, understanding, and love, even when you’re annoying the crap out of each other. There is someone there who cares for you when you’re sick, loves you when you feel ugly, and cuddles you before falling asleep. It’s awesome.

        Oh, yeah.You are going to annoy the crap out of each other. A lot. Usually on purpose, whether it’s from boredom, excitement, or simply because you can. And it’s funny.

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          Featured photo credit: www.brightadvice.co.uk via brightadvice.co.uk

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          Last Updated on April 11, 2019

          How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

          How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

          Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

          I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

          I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

          Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

          How Communication Skills Help Your Success

          Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

          Create a Positive Experience

          Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

          When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

          What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

          Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

          As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

          Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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          Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

          Help Leadership Skills

          It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

          Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

          As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

          Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

          If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

          Build Better Teams

          Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

          In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

          If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

          When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

          Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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          How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

          There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

          Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

          1. Listen

          Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

          Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

          People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

          Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

          Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

          2. Know Your Audience

          Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

          Here is a good way to think about it:

          Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

          You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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          3. Minimize

          I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

          He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

          Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

          State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

          The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

          4. Over Communicate

          So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

          What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

          Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

          Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

          Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

          There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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          5. Body Language

          The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

          When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

          In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

          When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

          Conclusion

          Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

          Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

          There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

          Now go communicate your way to success.

          More Resources About Effective Communication

          Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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