It’s an adventure like no other; once you’ve moved out of your parents’ home, and you take those first tentative steps towards being a fully-fledged adult, you inevitably go through the house share situation. But before you get to the housewarming party, and it feels (almost) like an episode of Friends, what is it actually like to move in with a few people you care about? Is it the perfect existence, or is it something far different?
Have Realistic Expectations
It’s not going to be a perfect existence. At the very outset, be sure that you have realistic expectations. When you move out of your parents’ house, and you set up home with a couple of friends, the expectations can be very different from reality. You may have already been planning what you’re all going to do; maybe film nights, takeout, and slumber parties galore. But as great as these things sound, they only take up a small percentage of your time. The rest of the time, you’ve got to live with them, and this means knowing when to keep your distance, and making peace with the fact that we’re not always at our best.
The House Duties
The most important thing to discuss if you’re all going to cohabit in the best possible way is to ensure everybody has their own unique house duty. A lot of people tend to put up a rota, but this can always cause frustration, especially if there are those sticking to the rota religiously and those who seldom do so. But, as soon as you have an agreement of who does what, be sure that you all stick to it. This could mean the difference between a happy existence with your friends and a frustrating one because one of them hasn’t done their share again!
The Financial Issues
Money will always be an issue in life, and whether you need to compare cable packages or you have to find the best utilities package for the house, be sure that you can all afford to live there. It may sound like common sense, but when people want to move in with their friends, money doesn’t always appear to be the priority. If you find a place with two other people, there’s one who always struggles to make rent or pay a bill, and you end up subbing for them, this can be a cycle that’s difficult for them to get out of and can make you incredibly annoyed.
Time To Yourself
Even though you’re living in a home with friends (or even your closest friends), time to yourself is a must. We can feel that when we live with other people that we’ve been good friends with previously, our relationship can change over time. In some ways, you may even see the real version of them. And likewise, they will see the real version of you. This means that it’s important to have that opportunity to be by yourself and to unwind.
There’s nothing wrong with having adequate time to yourself, especially if you’ve had a bad day or work has just been too busy. These are all things that you need to respect when your housemates want some downtime. And they should respect it from your point of view too. And if you’re living with people who can be a little on the self-conscious side, telling them you need a bit of time to yourself may make them think that they are the problem. But this is where the next part is invaluable…
You’re living with people and seeing the real version of them; if you don’t communicate your thoughts and feelings, this will form a current that bubbles underneath over time, and arguments and conflict can be a semi-regular occurrence. Instead of this, if you have frustrations with someone else, you can do it in a manner that’s kind without showing frustration.
The most difficult thing about living with other people is that you have to keep the peace to a certain level. When someone is not doing their share of the house cleaning or you’ve been left to pick up one of the bills again, you can start to think that person that’s not picking up the slack to be a bit selfish. And sometimes, living with someone else makes you realize exactly what they are like, and this can sour your opinion of them for the rest of your days.
But if you don’t communicate this to them, but you are frustrated with them for a certain reason, open and honest communication can mean that you can all get along better. And you never know, they may not realize what they’re doing, and this forces them to rethink everything. But there’s communication, and then there’s criticism. It’s important to differentiate between the two.
If you’ve never moved in with anybody a very quick way to find out what you’re made of. If you’ve been used to living with your family, and you have parents who have kept on top of the cleaning, you may soon realize how little you did. And when we move in with people who are on the same wavelength as us it can go one of two ways, it could be the perfect existence or far from the case!
Because think about the fantasy more than the reality when we move out because we’re able to do pretty much what we want when we want, we have still got to think about those people that we live with, and consider their needs. But, that being said, it is an amazing adventure.
Not only do you learn how to live with people, but you learn a lot about yourself. There will always be teething issues, but if you make peace with the fact that it’s not always going to be plain sailing, there will be money issues and domestic issues, not to mention life issues, but if you find the right people to live with, it could be the ideal existence for you. It’s an adventure, good and bad.