What do you consider normal behavior in your home? Is leaving the television on in every room simply the way you are used to living? Or is the opposite the case, where there are no media on in common rooms? Is dinner time at 5:30 or at 8? Does it matter? In the morning, is “normal” being perky and ready to chat, or is morning a time to silently come to terms with the day? Is “clean” a kitchen floor that you can eat off of or a general description of not having dirty dishes in the sink?
“Normal” is quite different for different people, which is why it’s important that you get to know yourself. Our assumptions about “normal” begin with the families in which we were raised. Many times these assumptions are unconscious. If we live alone and never with other people, we can go through an entire life living in our own “normal” ways without thinking anything of it. It is when we start living with others, people who grew up in different families, with their own idea of “normal,” that our assumptions bump into their assumptions. This can be uncomfortable.
This need not become a serious conflict, but rather may simply be a discomfort, a bump, a hitch, or something that happens where we can’t be on automatic pilot anymore. So then you get to figure out whether your assumptions are part of your conditioning or part of who you really are. This is a process of discernment. It is also part of your growth as an individual. Shed what you don’t need, keep what is truly vital. Use the stimulus from the discomfort to figure this out.
Communicate with your housemates. Compromise, accommodate, and adapt without giving up what is essential to you.
This is why it is so important that before you go to interview, think carefully about your daily routine and what you must have and what you can’t live with in a home sharing arrangement. Think about what your “normal” is. See if you can get your assumptions of “normal” conscious, so that you interview effectively and find a good house sharing arrangement for you.
Check out this article about how to talk to your housemate; How Would You Ask for a Change?
Last Updated on January 10, 2011 by Bob Sherwood
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