roommate

How to Survive Living With a Roommate Who’s Also Your Friend

Adulting, Author: Danny Abriano

I didn’t go away to college, so the first time I ever had a roommate was when I was well into my career. And that roommate just happened to be one of my closest friends.

There are all types of things — good and bad — that come along with having a roommate. When that roommate is one of your best friends, those things present themselves in different ways. And how you handle them will impact not just your living situation, but your relationship with someone whose presence in your life you value.

 

Rent and bills are business, even when your friend is involved
Do not be the person who needs to be asked more than once for the rent. If only one of you has your name on the lease, the other is responsible for paying the rent each month. That means the other roommate has to transfer the money over at least a few days in advance. Whether it’s with Venmo, by handing your friend cash, or some other way, do not ever slack off and pay late. It’ll put your friend and roommate in an awful spot. The same goes for bills (cable, internet, other utilities, etc.). Pay your share immediately.

Understand that you’re a team
If you’re a millennial who is living with another millennial, odds are that one or both of you has an active social life that often precludes you from paying attention to the cleanliness of the apartment. When you do have time to focus on it (at least once per week, unless you want visitors to think you’re a slob), help one another out. Dishes in the sink aren’t yours? Wash them anyway. The bathroom is filthy and you don’t want to clean it alone? Guess what, someone has to. Your roommate will recognize that you did something you didn’t have to, and take care of it for you next time.

Respect boundaries
Even though you’re close friends and have probably seen and done almost everything with this person, there are times when they’ll need space. Offer to be there for them if you think they’re in need, but back off if they reject it. If your friend comes home, and is furious for no reason, chalk it up to them having had a bad day. Don’t take it personally. And give them time to cool down.

Enjoy one another’s company
This seems obvious, right? You’re close friends who are living with one another. Hanging out and having fun should come naturally. But often, it doesn’t. If you both have full-time jobs, life will get in the way. And seeing each other every single day and night can take a bit of the shine off the friendship. But you’re close friends for a reason. Go out to dinner. Watch the game together. Sit on the couch and talk nonsense for a bit. Unwind.

Have an issue? Don’t let it fester
If your roommate/friend is doing something (or multiple things) that get on your nerves, tell them. If you keep it inside, you’ll start to resent them, while slowly going insane. That’s a bad combination. It can be awkward to tell your friend if something they do is bothering you. But the alternative is much worse. Tell them what’s on your mind. Your friendship and relationship as roommates will be better for it.

sensitive

When Your Sensitivity Gets In the Way

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

“Leave your emotions at the door.” 

It’s a phrase that you may have heard over and over, and it’s possible that for you, it’s an easy concept. You’re the type of person who can walk into work, or any social situation, and separate your emotions and your personal or professional life. You can leave them at the door, in a corner, in a box — pick your metaphor.

But when you’re very sensitive, it’s not always the easiest concept to wrap your head around. Maybe that fight with your roommate that you had in the morning, before you left for work, was more than you could handle, and you cried throughout the majority of your commute. Or multiple criticisms from your boss led to you fighting back tears while trying to give the appearance that you were just sitting in your cubicle, minding your own business, totally unaffected. But, you fail miserably. Even when all of the career advice books and articles you’ve read tell you otherwise, you head for the second floor bathroom and return with red-rimmed eyes and a puffy nose. And then, you feel all the more self-conscious, because the evidence is all over your face.

Unfortunately, you can’t go through life giving in to every single situation that could potentially lead to an emotional reaction. Sometimes, being able to feel so deeply can get in the wayand it can be to your detriment.

But, how can you make sure that your feelings, sensitivity, and emotions don’t get away of your tasks, whether they are personal or professional?

Step away for a bit
Get in tune with your emotional reactions, and learn to sense when one is coming. If you’re able to catch it before it arrives, don’t bury it, but instead, step away from the situation that’s causing it. Take your lunch break. Walk to the bathroom before it’s obvious that you’ve walked out the door in tears. Go for a drive. Have a snack and drink some water. Then, come back to the situation. Chances are, you’ll see it with a fresh, less emotional perspective. And you won’t be reacting in the heat of the moment, which will just make things worse.

Know your limit
If you know you have a lot of emotions and you’ve hit the point where you’ll know you won’t be productive due to the extenuating circumstances, don’t try to force it. I’ve used my paid time off to take a mental health day, and by the time I went back to work the next day, I’d processed everything that happened outside of work, to the point that I could focus on what was in front of me. Remember your self-care, and that includes knowing when to take a step back, and focusing on yourself for a bit.

Stand clear of emo music, violent movies, and the news
We all loved 2000s emo music, but when you’re feeling particularly sensitive, emo lyrics are actually not going to help you. Violent movies and TV shows also won’t do you any good, either. In fact by listening to that music or watching those types of shows, you’ll likely end up having even more feelings that you just don’t know what to do with. And while it’s important to stay informed, the times in which you are feeling particularly emotional are really not the times that you need to be processing news.

Write, write, write
And the best part of it all? If you don’t want anyone to read it, they don’t have to. It’s up to you. No one’s going to judge your private thoughts, when they’re written in a place where only you can see and read them later on. Just getting these thoughts out on paper can be beneficial to you. When you name the thoughts, you give them life, and you can then figure out how to process them. But, if you’re one to publicize your thoughts, go for it, and create a space for yourself by starting a blog, so long as it’s appropriate, of course.

Talk to someone who gets it
You know what’s better than one person who has a lot of feelings? Two people with lots of feelings. Chances are you’ll make the other person cry upon telling your tale of the fight you had with your roommate, or the nasty remark your boss made, or the fact that you saw that damned Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercial again. But you’ll cry together.