Back in the day, when I was in my twenties, I had a flatmate whose beau would walk around the apartment in his underwear. I let it slide a few times, but when it came to using my crystal champagne flutes to drink milk I finally had to say something about his cavalier attitude of parading around in his saggy whiteys and using all my good glassware to fulfill a juvenile fantasy.
That home-sharing situation didn’t last long. My flat-mate became incensed that I had the nerve to complain about her beau’s undergarments, pointing out I flagrantly flaunted my slim figure in a bathing suit (we had a swimming pool). But what was important is that knew what I wanted in a housemate, and my needs weren’t being met.
Boundaries are Crossed
At some point in your home-sharing experience, you will encounter some behavior where boundaries are crossed. For example, your flatmate helps themselves to your food and doesn’t replace it despite promises. Or a home-mate invites a friend over who is a smoker and although he smokes outside, he leaves the cigarette butts in the beautiful planter outside the front entrance.
These examples are a handful of my experiences that I didn’t handle properly. Not wanting to criticize the people in each of the scenarios, I kept quiet because I didn’t want to have the tables turned on me as had happened with the fellow with the baggy drawers.
Be Upfront from the Beginning
To avoid any potential unpleasantness with your home-mate, be upfront during your initial interview. Inject humor and use examples of what can drive you batty. Share pet peeves with your potential home-mate. You might find that you both have more in common. Don’t let the fear of offending get in the way. It’s better to talk about all this before choosing to live together.
Getting Better Acquainted
To get better acquainted with your potential home-mate, we strongly recommend you use the resources we provide on Sharing Housing. We offer several free worksheets to download that are based on the Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates. Diligently work through them. We also offer the “Home-Mate Compatibility Assessment”. Take note this isn’t a checklist, but focuses on the aspects of sharing a home and the meaty details that often get overlooked when you don’t have experience in sharing housing. It’s a tool to use at two different stages in your home-mate search. In addition to these resources, read this blog, which has valuable information from so many experiences and perspectives.
Don’t be cowed by a man waffling about in his skivvies. Speak up before he gets the notion that he’s more comfortable au naturel.
Read more about how you can make home-sharing work: Experiences of Home Sharing (and What Makes it Work) , Don’t Make This Mistake!