The current pandemic situation has highlighted the importance of a pleasant atmosphere inside the home. For this, we need to build strong and loving relationships with the people who live with us. But beyond that, we need to maintain these relationships even during trying times. Let’s look at the basics!
Show you got their back
The first and perhaps most important thing is to show them that you are there. Whenever you can, help them with what they ask. Be a shoulder they can lean on, emotionally, and in regards to daily problems.
We can often take the people closest to us for granted, and it’s important to remind them that we are there for them no matter the situation.
Respect their needs
We all have our little quirks, needs, and desires that others might not share or understand. You might feel that some of the things that they want are a bit silly or unnecessary – like leaving the room disorganized or putting the clothes away by color.
However, respecting these things, big and small, does a lot to promote a positive atmosphere. Paying attention to details that don’t matter to you but do matter to your roommate can improve your relationship a great deal.
Privacy is essential
One of the keys to good cohabitation is respecting the other person’s privacy. Even if you share the same room, each person needs to have their private spaces, places to keep their things, times when they get to be alone, or doing something on their own.
It’s important to respect the other person’s privacy and communicate about what each of you needs and how it can be accomplished.
You always need to communicate. Talk about small problems because they become big problems. Talk about the good things because it helps them grow. Talk about a situation that concerns you or something that worries you.
Communicating can cut down on the drama and the assumptions and misunderstandings that otherwise can lead to severe consequences.
Say no when you need to
Keeping the peace doesn’t mean being a yes man. It’s equally important to be able to say no when you need to.
Otherwise, resentment and problems grow beyond measure. You should let the other person know when something doesn’t work for you and enforce your boundaries just as you would expect your roommate to do.
Appreciate them and let them know
A positive relationship doesn’t come from big gestures but from small, everyday tokens of appreciation. Pay attention to the things that the other does, even (and especially) for the things they do every day.
If they do the dishes, if they pick up the socks, if they remember that you especially love chocolate chip cookies and always leave you the last one, recognize it and say thanks.
Make rules and expectations explicit
It’s easy enough to assume that the way in which we do things is the right way, somehow, or at least the default. However, in practice, everyone has their own way of organizing their home and expectations of what words like clean or tidy mean. You might need to talk about things that seem obvious.
What do you expect? What do they expect? How will you split the chores? Who is responsible for what? Some things might seem too obvious to be discussed, but it’s best to talk more rather than less. As new things come up, you can communicate about them and revise agreements as the situation changes. Cohabitation is a constant process of communication and dialogue.
It’s important to invest in maintaining a good relationship with the people who live with you. This investment will always pay off!