We’ve all had that roommate. You know, the one who leaves dishes in the sink, on the coffee table, and clutters up the living room with a variety things that seem useless to you. We’ve also had that other roommate. The one who constantly organizes, gets stressed out when there’s seemingly useless things cluttering up the living room, and can’t stand when the dishes have been left in the sink for even a couple hours.
These roommates can be friends, significant others, or even spouses; the issue is the same, and it won’t be sorted until both parties involved address it in a reasonable manner. If the problem goes unresolved, it’s going to lead to unnecessary stress that impacts daily life as a whole. It might be somewhat easy at first to ignore the other’s habits, but overtime the habits will take their toll. You don’t want to try and solve this problem by lashing out, it needs to be taken care of early, but most importantly, calmly.
The solution begins with understanding different perspectives.
Although it feels like your messy roommate simply doesn’t care, have you ever looked at it from his or her point of view?
Although it seems like your neat-freak roommate is high maintenance, have you thought about why they seem that way?
The answers to these questions will eventually put you both on the path to shared happiness while living together.
If you’re the roommate who simply can’t stand the clutter, something needs to be done, because it isn’t fair that you feel an endless amount of stress in the place you’re supposed to feel comfortable. Talk to your roommate about why you feel the way you do, why you’re constantly cleaning up the house or apartment, and why you’re so overly stressed.
If you’re the roommate who just wants to come home, make some food and forget about cleaning up after, toss your shoes wherever you sit down first, and leave your coat hanging on the back of a chair, you have the right to do that, too. Explain to your roommate why you want to do those things, what about it is relaxing or beneficial to you.
A great way to learn about each other’s perspectives is to walk around the house, from room to room, and explain why things are the way they are. If you have a pile of clothes on the floor, papers at your desk, or things stuffed into a closet, state your logic. Maybe that stack of papers is actually organized into a system you find helpful.
If the counters are clean, the rugs vacuumed , and the coffee table cleared and dusted, explain why it makes you comfortable when those things are done. Don’t just do them and expect someone else to understand your reasons without offering any explanation, even if they’re obvious to you.
Offering your perspective is healthy, and it will help solve your problems as roommates. The point is, there’s always logic behind a decision, which can provide peace of mind when you actually know the ‘why’ behind an action. Once you know the ‘why,’ you can start to establish healthy boundaries that will keep both your stress levels down.
You might want to create places that are all your own. Divide up the house with your roommate so that in certain personal locations, you can operate in any fashion that you see fit. Establishing this boundary eliminates stress because you have a place to go and be you, and you don’t have to expect that place to look a certain way when you walk by.
If it’s your roommates turn to do the dishes, don’t give them ownership of the task and then force them to do it when you would do it. You can ask them to do it before he or she goes to bed or leaves the house, and then trust the job will get done when you’ve both agreed.
The secret to happy, stress free living comes from perspective. It’s always worth taking the time to figure out someone else’s perspective because you’ll probably learn something you didn’t already know. Conflict resolution begins only after a mutual understanding is reached. You deserve to be comfortable in your home, and so does your roommate.