Let’s get one thing straight: I am NOT a good person to live with. I’m a neat freak but only in certain situations, I like my alone time and if you eat my food or finish the milk without replacing it I will wreak swift vengeance upon you and yours.
I recognise that a good portion of the miserable times I spent living in a sharehouse were the result of my own forays into passive aggression and just not knowing how to deal with people who weren’t my own family.
Who knew that people who aren’t my immediate family would not be particularly enamored by me? Today’s blog subject was supplied by Denyse Whelan, whose link up I’m joining today, and as soon as I read it my palm went to my face to cover the shame of not having thought of it before. Thanks Denyse!
(A few) Years prior to living in San Francisco, I shared the top floor of a town house with two other people. A couple, to be precise, and that leads to my very first rule.
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It might seem mean and exclusionary but I found being the third wheel in a sharehouse awkward.
All pictures in this post are by Alexas_Fotos under Creative Commons
You can make as many suggestions as you want, they’re just going to side with each other
There will be arguments between them – you will hide in your room
You’re going to end up liking one more than the other
Depending on the personalities, they probably won’t want to hang out with you as much as other singletons do
It can get a bit lonely
Having said that, there are a few outstanding reasons to move in with a couple. If one “skips” their chores, the other half will probably do them just to keep the peace. And if you’re having an issue with one you can talk to the other about the best way to broach the situation before it snowballs.
You may be a house full of slobs, and that’s fine, but chances are you’re not all at the same level of slovenliness. One of you will crack before the others and that person will be annoyed that you can’t be bothered cleaning up your own mess.
If you’re old enough to move out you’re old enough to be responsible for your own mouldering left-overs, dirty dishes or bathroom sprucing. So agree early on what’s right for your household – set chores, or a rota. Just make sure it doesn’t always fall to the same person to tidy up or they will not be a nice person to live with.
INTROVERTS V. EXTROVERTS
Do you love having as many strangers in your place for shenanigans and what not? Or are you happier vegging on the couch of an evening? Chose your housemates wisely, because you’ll have to live with them and their friends (or lack thereof) for a very long time.
Compatibility is key! You want to be comfortable in your own home. Otherwise you’re not going to be happy and neither are they.
If you’re an expat roomie you’re bound to be getting visitors from home who want to crash on the couch. We had a spare room (and I’m being generous calling it a room), where visitors were welcome to stay. That can lead to double bookings or arguments about who’s mate should stay over for a week (or a month). It’s best to put it all on a calendar so there’s no confusion about who’s coming to visit and when.
And try not to make it a revolving door of visitors. There’s nothing worse than having strangers in your house 24/7. Well for me anyway. Make sure there’s some downtime between visitors.
Maybe you don’t like confrontation. Or you get so caught up in your anger or frustration that you immediately default to passive aggression. Trust me. Been there, done that and it doesn’t help. Can I take this opportunity to apologise to my former housemates? I’m much better now, I swear.
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Look, no one can read your mind and some people are just plain thick. You can drop hints all you want and they’re not going to get it. Your best bet is to just say “hey, this is annoying me, would you mind not doing it?” etc. If they’re a reasonable person they’ll do their best. End of.
I worked night shift for a very long time in London. The topsy-turvy hours play havoc with your mood, your sleep schedule and how quiet you have to be when you get home from work.
Imagine rolling up home at 3am or 4am, dying for a cuppa because your employer doesn’t have any kitchen facilities. You tiptoe inside (OK, I forgot my keys one and had to wake someone up to let me in), boil the kettle and get your favourite teacup ready. Pour the water and open the fridge, only to find that there’s no milk left.
Don’t let that happen in your house. I’m just saying. It made me a total crankypants on numerous occasions.
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Hi, I’m Katherine
An Australian expat who loves living in San Francisco and helping other Aussies make their dreams of moving to the US come true. Read more on my about page.