Many years ago, during a bitter breakup, a former beau hoped to push me out of our shared flat. At the time, I was working as a temp while he had a full-time job as a professor at the University. I mentioned he had more housing options than I had, and it made more sense for me to stay with the dog and simply find a flatmate to make up his share of the rent. Two things occurred: he told me to get rid of the dog coupled with a fearmongering campaign that our landlord would never agree to a flatmate situation and I would have no choice but to move from my home. The next day, armed with great resolve, I spoke to the landlord and asked if he had a problem with me staying and finding a flatmate. His response was he didn’t see that as an issue as long as the rent was paid on time. When the beau returned late that night, I countered his fearmongering and told him to pack his bags. A week later, I found the first of two terrific flatmates.
Negative Nellies and Projecting
For many of us settled in an apartment or a house but face rising costs in upkeep, rent, utilities, and so forth home sharing makes sense. But when we share this very practical idea, there’s always unsolicited advice from friends and family of how that’s the worst possible solution. We’re told horror stories of grifters who will steal, destroy the property, endanger our lives, and much more. What I discovered over time was these Negative Nellies projected their own fears. There’s no question some individuals might take advantage of a shared housing situation, but I believe there are more positive experiences than negative ones based from the hundreds of people that Sharing Housing has interviewed during the last ten years and from Annamarie’s and my own personal experiences.
Countering the Negative Nellies
The best way to counter Negative Nellies is to set boundaries. Your home environment and finances concerns only you and not them. If you are convinced that home sharing will help ease the financial burden of housing costs, then move forward. However, don’t put yourself in the position that may prove the Negative Nellies right—do your research. In the resource section of the Sharing Housing website, you can find videos, the book Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates and its accompanying workbook. The guidebook will teach you how to eliminate incompatible people before you live together, how to write an ad, how to negotiate the details of living together, what kinds of background checks and references are helpful, and much more. We also recommend to read through the articles we’ve published during the last ten years. In that section of the website, you’ll find hundreds of interviews of people who have shared their homes successfully and others who experienced some glitches. Learn from both sides of the home sharing experience. And remember, don’t let fearmongering deter you from doing what’s best for you.