Let's face it — living with other people can be difficult. Whether you're sharing a house with five roommates, or a tiny studio apartment with your SO, it's not likely y'all will get along 100 percent of the time. This is especially true if you have bad habits that make you difficult to live with. (And vice versa, of course.)
Whether it's taking over the kitchen, being late with rent, or commandeering the TV for the fifth night in a row, we all have our one "thing" that makes us a bad housemate. Keep in mind, though, that this doesn't mean something is wrong with you. While forgetting to pay rent late may not be great, most roommate disagreements can be chalked up to a simple clashing of personalities.
"It’s difficult to live with other people because our brains are usually wired differently," says organizing expert Kelly McMenamin, in an email to Bustle. What looks like a pile of shirts to you might seem like world-ending mess to someone else.
When it comes to things like this, all you can do is agree to disagree. "It’s important for the shirt person to realize that it is a big deal to some people," McMenamin says. "Likewise, the neater person needs to realize that it’s not as easy for others to put their clothes away as it is for them." Learn to shrug it off, and you'll have an easier time sharing a space. But until then, read on for a few bad habits that might have your roommates rolling their eyes.
1. Keeping Track Of Every Expense
Every house needs this person. You know, the one who keeps track of bills and makes sure everyone's throwing in their fair share for toilet paper. But sometimes, it can be taken too far. "Some people obsess about budgets to the point that they waste an amazing amount of time tracking and cataloging every minor expense, such as snacks and bottles of water," says psychiatrist Dr. Scott Carroll, in an email to Bustle. If this is you, it may be time to loosen up a bit when it comes to the nickels and dimes.
2. Chatting With Roommates At All Hours
It's fine to be excited when your partner or roomies get home. I mean, you haven't seen each other all day and you want to know what's new. But take note if they seem like they really want to be alone, relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, tells me. Same goes for descending upon them first thing in the morning. Nobody wants a convo forced upon them — especially when they're tired.
3. Pinching Pennies Unnecessarily
It's one thing to turn lights off when you leave a room, or to go for store brand versus name brand products. And hey, sometimes you gotta pinch pennies in order to make rent. But doing so unnecessarily can make it stressful for some people to live with you, clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly tells me. For example, you don't have to charge your roommate for a sip of orange juice. This type of stinginess really won't make cohabiting very fun.
4. Not Cleaning Up The Kitchen
No one likes a dirty kitchen — especially if you have lots of people sharing the same space. So make sure you listen if they start to complain about those piles of plates. As Milrad tells me, it's great to have gourmet meals, but if your cooking results in a lot dishes piling up in the sink, it kind of undoes the charm.
5. Getting Upset When Things Aren't Organized
Having a clean roommate is great in a lot of ways. And if this is you, good job on keeping the house spotless. But realize how unfair it can become if you start to rule the place with an iron fist. "Your anxiety about things being out of place can result in you constantly putting things away and nagging others to do the same," Milrad says. "Very quickly, this can become irritating and annoying to others."
6. Procrastinating On The Regular
Procrastinators are pretty darn difficult to live with for many reasons, Carroll tells me. If your SO is a procrastinator, it may mean the two of you are late with important things — like your health insurance payment, or something else equally important. With roommates, procrastinators may hand in the rent late, or fail to clean that aforementioned kitchen. Do things like these one too many times, and it really can start to rub people the wrong way.
7. Making Yourself Too At Home
Yes, it's your place and you should be able to do whatever you want. And yet, sharing a space with another person means just that — sharing a space. "When you don’t care if you’re leaving a home messy for someone else... you’re going to be very difficult to live with," says relationship expert April Masini, in an email to Bustle. Maybe you leave towels lying around, or set up shop on the couch for days. Whatever you do, remember other people live there, too.
8. Filling The House With Collectibles
Do you love a collectible? Do you line them up on every flat surface in your apartment? If so, be aware that your "collection" could be irritating to your roomies. If your roommate is your partner, they may view a particularly intense collection as encroaching on your relationship, Carroll tells me. And any other type of roommate may just despise the use of space. If you're worried about it, ask and see what they say.
9. Interrupting A Lot During House Chats
A huge factor in getting along with roommates is everyone's ability to listen to each other. So, if you're in the habit of interpreting, it sure can make things difficult. While you don't mean to do it, Milrad says, it can still come off as rude. "Being cut off can feel dismissive to others at worst, and annoying, at best," she says. Clearly, a bad habit better left avoided.
10. Forgoing Any Sense Of Manners
Bad manners can come in all forms — listening to music too loudly, being sloppy in the bathroom, leaving food to rot in the fridge, etc. As Milrab tells me, this can also come in the form of being kind of rude at the dinner table, if you guys do family-style meals. Do you steal all the food or drink the last soda? If so, it can make a world of difference if you remember some etiquette.
11. Letting Your Pet Roam Free
If you have a pet, then it clearly needs to come first in pretty much every way. But that doesn't mean he or she should have full reign of the house when others share the same space. Unless given the OK, try to wrangle your pet, keep him quiet, and prevent any accidents. Your roommates will so appreciate it.
If you recognize any of these "bad" habits in yourself, it is possible to switch up your ways and become a better roommate. Remembering what might rub people the wrong way is a great place to start.
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