Maybe Get a Housemate!

Do you have an extra room in your apartment? Are you looking to save some money on accommodation this year? Do you want to NOT be alone during this pandemic? Is moving back in with your parents an impossibility? It’s time to update your social media with “Housemate wanted”. You might not be able to choose your family but you can choose your housemate. If you’re married, you already have a housemate, you can still do some re-learning..

Rule of thumb, good friends may not make good roommates. Good roommates may not make good friends. And please dead that thought that “girls fight more than boys” and you and your homies will be fine.

Sharing an apartment with someone is mostly a financial, emotional and logical decision. So here is a list of things you save, resources you pool and benefits you get when you move in with someone:

  1. You live longer in an apocalypse. You’ve seen those horror movies of people being stuck in a house together during end times and how eventually they come to depend on each other for survival. They pool together everyone’s strong suit. Usually whoever leaves the pack, well, dies. A pandemic or economic recession counts as apocalypse so?
  2. You get a better social life. Cooking and eating alone can sometimes feel tiresome. Even wasteful if you haven’t mastered cooking in little portion. You’ll never have to worry about making friends because you live with one. You can choose to hang out together at the most random times. You’ll feel less lonely and homesick.
  3. You share costs. One of the main reasons why a lot of people choose to share apartments is because of the financial benefits. One great advantage of sharing a house is having someone to share the bills with. And it’s not just rent, it includes all your utilities like as gas, water, electricity, internet and TV subscriptions. When you combine money, you could go all out for a fancier and bigger place. By sharing, you could also start to save up money to get your own place.
  4. You enjoy a lot of sharing. Here’s a long list of things you will share; a car if someone has one, generator, games like ps/xbox or just card games, power-bank, a TV set and sound system, iron, books, fridge, pot, pans, plates, cheese graters, all the works. It’s a lot to gather up by yourself, especially if you just started living on your own. You never know how useful a tin opener is until you don’t have one. Sharing a house means, between the two of you, all those little things you depend on to make your life easier are within reach. Unfortunately, it also means that someone is more likely to borrow your fancy hair drier and spoil it, or use up the last of the milk.
  5. Shared cleaning. Sincerely, cleaning isn’t that fun of a task. But a problem shared is a problem solved. It can be quite annoying if someone doesn’t pull their weight or you don’t share the same definition of the word “clean”. Make a cleaning roster and if you can afford it, hire a cleaner to come over once every couple of weeks.
  6. You get to practice and decide if you’re ever getting married. If you realise that you are always fighting or angry with your “neighbour”, check yourself, you may just like your personal space more than you care to admit and, you can decide to stay alone forever. Just kidding.

There are two poignant downsides to having a housemate.

You might lose a friend. They say you don’t know someone till you live with them. Whether they snore, they’re untidy, their poo is toxic, or they fart too much. You’ll just never know when you can’t take some things anymore or they’ve annoyed you “up to here”. You may find out you start to fight more often, and the friendship isn’t “working”.

You have to grow up. Living with someone who isn’t a sibling will require you always be a bigger person. There’s no automatic forgiveness because they’re not family. You can’t be waiting for the other person to go first. The best part however is when both of you are always the bigger persons.

Okay, so maybe the cons aren’t as deep as they sound. My mum always told me I could live with a goat with the level of endurance I can display with people. But this does NOT apply to living with my sister because, I’m the goat. Here are some tips that’ll make it easier and possible:

Communicate. You’re adults and age doesn’t come with mind reading powers. If there’s something you want to say, say it. Passive aggression is so sneaky; nobody wants to put up with that. Have a “Do Not” talk together. Speak about how you do your things, share your quirks and dislikes. Lay all your cards on the table. Then find your compromise. Also let each other know when you’re having a tough time so they can well, respect that your emotions are fragile in that moment. Nobody, is, a, mind reader.

You don’t have to hang out together every time. No matter how much fun you have, don’t overdo it. Give each other space. Too much of it and it can go sour fast. Let the other person be alone in your shared quarters every now and then.

 Learn to take the high road, especially if you are living with your best friend. There’s a lot of emotions involved already, you’re not two random strangers that can afford to ignore each other. So be willing to let some things slide.

Exchange emergency information with each other. If something is wrong with you, who do they call. If you’re seeing a therapist, he’s also your doctor, share with them. You are two adults who are responsible for each other. Giving each other respectable space is not the same as “all man for himself”.

Let them know if you are having guests over, especially if you share a room or a common area. Let them know if there’ll be noise, or unexpected faces. Never ambush your housemate.

It’s not awkward to sit together and do absolutely nothing. You don’t have to pass the time with small talk or mundane activities. Sometimes being in your head is okay too.

You can have a standard agreement. If there is anything you feel strongly about, if you don’t trust the other person to be financially responsible, you can draw up a simple contract between yourselves, signed by both parties. That way you can at least avoid stories that touch, like getting thrown out or being able to throw out roommate that’s not paying house rent or paying for the cleaner.

Be aware of your own habits. Emotional intelligence is key. Know yourself better and you can know how to handle those who have to deal with you. You might be very annoying and not even know.

Every week, pretend like your parents are visiting or the landlord is inspecting or you’re bringing a hot date over, then treat the house as if it were true.

Discuss what food, if any, you are willing to share. I remember a girl me and my sister shared an apartment with. We had our individual fridges, but she would freely open it and eat our cooked soups, fry our last egg for dinner, carry ingredients and make her own soup, then lock it in her room. My sister believed we shouldn’t say anything and let her mature, so I let it go out of respect to her. But I secretly laughed every time she got angry when it was too much. Some people don’t have boundaries when it comes to food. It’s okay to share, but for me, NEVER TOUCH MY CHOCOLATE.

Which leads me here; always be considerate. If they behave like you’re behaving, would you be pleased?

Wear headphones. I take God beg you. Blasting music is a No-No. Two cousins once had a fight over this and I ended up getting my head bashed with frying pan while trying to separate fight.

Generally, it’s easier to accept that, people are going to live how they want to instead of you trying to change how they live. Not everyone was raised like you. But everyone has to pool/pull their weight. Do it with someone you can trust, trust your instinct. It can be transactional, bring what you have. It can be philanthropy, you can stay with someone and the only thing you have is your clothes, but please, pull your weight.If you live with your parents, please contribute in the home. If you’re unemployed or financially stressed, and your housemate is earning, please try some sweat labor to save costs. Don’t be a Gbef.

So, all that being said, what’s the worst housemate experience you’ve ever had? Have you been a bad housemate before? Tell me all about it in the comments please.

Asante. Xx.

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