Today I want to share a situation of what could happen when there’s no verbal communication, but a trail of Post-Its or unwanted articles that hint at displeasure over something that could have been easily corrected if there was a friendly conversation. It’s always easier to be aware of your needs and speak directly to your housemate about them.
We all have ingrained habits. For example, I had a mouse situation so I’ve made it a habit to make sure that there aren’t any dishes in the sink, counters are wiped down, and the floor is swept before bedtime. I’m strict about it because of getting surprised by a mouse running over my bare feet when I made a late night visit to the kitchen to get a drink of water.
My number one rule for myself and any potential home-mate is to be upfront about dirty dishes in the sink for the reason stated above. But let’s face it, no one is perfect. If I see a knife used to slice an apple or an empty glass would I leave a passive-aggressive Post-It with a frowning face? Of course not. I would wash the glass or knife and be done with it.
Should it happen repeatedly and it’s more than a glass, but a small pile of dishes left nightly and, more often than not, you end up washing the dishes then it’s time to have a friendly conversation reminding your home-mate the reasoning behind the extra effort in keeping a tidy kitchen.
On the Receiving End
Let’s say you’re on the receiving end of disapproval when you discover slipped underneath your bedroom door unwanted articles featuring tips on handling unruly grandchildren. I’ve learned you never offer unsolicited advice from experience or from the articles to friends unless they request it. Unwanted clipped articles beneath your door comes across as judgmental. Nip this in the bud immediately in a polite manner stating you appreciate the advice, and will pass it along to the children’s parents.
Avoid Resentment and Conflict
We advocate from the start of your home-sharing search to have several conversations with your potential home-mate so that you can avoid resentment and conflict. If you’re unsure how to approach subjects that might trigger a negative response, we offer a free and downloadable interview guide that will help you broach several topics of concern.
Talk is Cheap, but Moving isn’t
Sometimes when you come across passive-aggressive actions like the ones above, the person leaving the trail of Post-Its and article clippings doesn’t realize how it might come across. They could be embarrassed and not know how to approach you and believe they’re leaving a subtle hint. When it happens often, the impulse might be, “That’s it. I’m done. I’m finding another place to live.” Moving is expensive, but a quiet conversation might help the other person understand how their well-intentioned actions were perceived, but also help you avoid the stress and high cost of finding a new home.
Pictures: Image by Maklay62 from Pixabay