4 Tips for Surviving Other People

pexels-photo-351330.jpeg

I’m not exactly breaking new ground when I say that millennials are not exactly buying houses at the same rate as previous generations. There are plenty of reasons, and even more speculation, about why this is. Anyone of those things would make for a fascinating article but, the biggest and most obvious reason? It costs a lot of money to purchase a house, and we millennials are making less and less on average. Is it because we are spending all of our money on avocado toast? Or maybe it’s because wages have been stagnant for years and our job opportunities are slim? Who can say?

Millennials are either living with their parents or guardians or they are living in an apartment. I personally think living in an apartment building has plenty of benefits. You can live on your own, it is much more affordable, and it has all the benefits of owning your own home without the investment! More often than not, however, you will have to have a roommate, someone to share with you the cost of the rent. Having a roommate can bring plenty of good times, yes, but they also can bring a whole host of potential problems. I want to help mitigate some of those potential problems. The following tips are things that every man should do or keep in mind. 

(I should note that these tips are written primarily for people living with roommates, be they, friends or strangers. Naturally, these tips work just as well if you are moving in with your spouse or significant other, but that relationship is fundamentally different and besides that, you should know how to treat the current love of your life.)

  1. Clean up after yourself. This one should really be obvious, obvious enough that I feel slightly embarrassed having to say it. Or, at least that is what I thought until I actually started talking to people about their roommate horror stories. Do your dishes. Wipe down the bathroom. Vacuum the floors. It is that simple. You should be doing all of these things already. It takes the bare minimum of effort to keep things tidy, but that minimum effort pays off in spades. No one wants to live in filth. You should not want to live in filth. Imagine having company coming over, the scramble to try and get your home presentable. You can avoid all of that by simply not being a slovenly person.
  2. The second and most important tip is that you should always be self-aware. Really this should be every man's mantra. You could ignore the rest of this article if you simply memorize and live by this rule. Every situation you could convivially find yourself is made better and easier if you are simply self-aware. If you disregard doing any dishes and let them pile up in the sink, think about that look. Oh, you haven't taken the trash out in two weeks? You better believe your roommates have noticed. It's not a bad idea to always think to yourself: how does this make me look? Would I be mad if someone did that to me? If you are always vigilant and on guard then you are less likely to be "that" roommate. To go through your life without self-reflection is the worst sort of person, and that's tripled for the people who are forced to be around you.
  3. You're going to notice a pattern that these rules seem to build off one another. The third rule is that you should never steal from your roommates. Listen I don't know your life or who you are as a person. A no theft policy may not be your particular cup of tea, you do you. Just don't steal from the people you live with. It's not just monetary theft either, don't steal their food or supplies. This isn't the apocalypse, you don't need to scavenge to survive.

  4. The fourth rule is the most intangible. Stated bluntly: Be kind. Seems obvious right? After all, it doesn't take much grace to be polite, even nice, when under pressure. I include this because it's so often just enough to exist with the people you cohabitate with. You don't need to be outwardly nice, you could just skate by, especially if you lead different lives on different schedules. Going the extra mile, even if it is just every once and awhile, does worlds of good. Being kind and expecting nothing in return, just throwing that kindness out in the world, that should be the ultimate goal. Too leave your baggage at the apartment door and try to bring a little light into the life of someone else is its own reward. Barring that you can at least not be a dick.

Striking out on your own is an important step in the life of every man. Not every man is lucky enough to move directly into their own private house or apartment. Learning how to live with others is a process, especially if you grew up as an only child. Learning to thrive on your own is its own special case. Learning to thrive alongside someone else, a potential stranger at that, is tough enough that any tips or tricks should be welcome.