Sharing a home with other people can be great for several reasons. One you have someone to talk to if you need to. This of course means you don’t go days without having spoken to anyone. Yes, this is a subtle shade to people who prefer to live alone. Another great advantage of sharing a home with other people is that your expenses become manageable, you become better at sharing and develop a knack for effective communication and conflict resolution.
Psychology also supports the concept that working together with other people can be hugely rewarding. And working together could manifest in the workplace or in your personal life. The best way to ensure that you and your housemates maintain an easy, seamless relationship while living together is by setting healthy boundaries.
It is incredibly important to draw the line and even better, that the parties involved understand why the line has been drawn and the importance of respecting it. In this piece, we will be sharing tips on how to go about setting healthy boundaries with your housemates. These tips will guide you on how to set these boundaries without excusing your housemates' needs as well. It will also help you understand the importance of compromise when necessary.
Make Boundaries Setting An Important Part of Your Living Arrangement
Look, nobody wants to live with a strict, unbending person, but nobody also wants to live with someone who has no sense of personal space or social cues. To properly meet in the middle, it is important to establish, from the very start of your living arrangement, the fact that healthy boundaries will be set and enforced between each other. Ensuring that each party has a sense that although you share a space, you are also individuals whose lives don’t have to intertwine at all times will save everyone a lot of trouble and confusion.
Choose Honesty Over Saying Nothing
Yes, you want to maintain the peace and say nothing, but trust us when we tell you that choosing to say nothing in matters involving your personal boundaries will not pan out well. It is vital that you are honest, upfront and not passive-aggressive when trying to communicate the extent of your boundaries. Speaking up and speaking honestly will cut through the noise and quickly determine if you and your housemates are even compatible to begin with. If you like a clean kitchen, make it known. If you have phobias, please communicate it. The last thing you want to do is express your displeasure through microaggressions instead of clear, manageable communication.
Embrace Compromise and Flexibility
The biggest mistake people sometimes make when they share a space with other people is forgetting they share a space with another person. To successfully set healthy boundaries with your housemates, you must first acknowledge that your housemates have their own preferences and ways of doing things. This is where compromise and flexibility come into play. If your housemates are not neat freaks, you can choose to take on organizing your space while they handle other aspects like food and bills. Setting clearly defined tasks can automatically kickstart the boundaries-setting process. That way, you get what you need from your space, while they contribute significantly to the space you both share.
Develop a Communication Structure
To ensure you and your housemates are aware of each other’s boundaries and to what extent they are being respected or disregarded, it is important to develop a strong communication structure to keep everyone in check. Monthly meetings, weekly check-ins, and informal, regular chats filled with respect and kindness will go a long way in reinforcing boundaries and developing an environment where each person comes to care for and be protective of the other person’s boundaries.
Understand It Is An Ongoing Process
The key thing to remember when sharing a space with someone is that things change. Your housemates can develop a different taste or might need more personal space. You might stop being okay with sharing too many of your personal belongings or your housemate might start getting tired of how the common spaces are used. It is important to hold space for changes when setting boundaries. Being able to seamlessly adjust and adopt mutually beneficial boundaries will save your cohabitation from unending conflict.