When you're living with your first roommates outside your parents house, there are a lot of ways to get under each other's skin and have a life of drama that you dread coming home to. But it doesn't have to be that way.
I suggest that you adopt a vision for your home life with your new roommates that puts all of you together in a situation where you can depend on each other and rest easy, knowing you can come back to the safety of the house and relax no matter what's going on. This is a bit deeper than just making sure the place isn't too trashed all the time, or figuring out how to split the bills.
Ages 18-24 are a super risky time for lots of people. This is the part of people's stories where you hear the part about them falling off the rails, seeing what they can get away with, making costly mistakes, figuring out their limits the hard way. It's not surprising! All your life you've been told what you can and can't do, and many folks decide to let it rip and do things differently! In any case, whether or not you exercise a rebellious streak or intend to be more wild than usual, surviving and growing through this stage of your life is important. People do have many of the same needs as when they were teenagers, but they're just terrible at expressing and protecting those needs in a way that builds a healthy home. Your household can be a tight knit tribe of buddies who come through for each other and provide a home base to operate from week after week, or even year after year.
Here are my best tips on how to set up a few simple agreements with your roomies that will absolutely make your lives less stressful and more joyful.
1. You only get 5 complaints. Yep, that's right. If you're a complainer, this will be tough for you. But you don't get an easy pass on this one. Tell yourself at the beginning that you only are allowed 5 complaints about anything towards your roomies for the entire time you live together. This may be 6 months or 3 years. It will force you to be creative about expressing yourself. You can say that you're not cool with something, and be assertive, and that's not a complaint. You can problem solve an issue and figure out how to eliminate or avoid it, instead of spending too much time focusing on the negative. You can ask for help or say how important something is rather than complain. A complaint is :
-a statement of dislike or negativity that the listener can't do anything about, such as an event that already happened
-a statement that does not mention or focus on a solution
-passive agressive or scolding in any way
-focused too much on negative feelings because the speaker is experiencing those feelings while they're talking about it, rather than waiting until he has his emotions in check before speaking.
Complaining never helps, and it quickly causes resentment. Just don't let yourself do it.
2. Rotate the important and meaningful chores. Most household arguments start over silly, "minor" things. So do this: Each roommate separately lists the top 3 chores that need to be done consistently and regularly or that person will go crazy. Everyone has their pet peeves and their little things that bother them. So write the top 3 down and come to the table and share them out. Sounds super corny, but just wait. Decide how often these things need to be done to prevent anger and resentment, and put those things on a calendar that hangs in the main part of the house. Then put your names on those chores in a rotation so that everyone takes turns doing each of the chores. Billy will sometimes do Steve's top chores, and sometimes do his own, and sometimes do Jon's. That way it all gets done and prevents you from raging out on each other over nothing. Plus, when your roomie does one of your important chores, it's a little boost because in the back of your mind you'll appreciate him doing it "for you," even though it could be just a chore in his mind. Pretty cool trick to help you take care of the house and each other, and there's no harm in giving it a try.
3. No questions asked calls. Set up an agreement that any time of day or night you will answer the phone for each other and come through. Sometimes people are just stuck, worn out, or in a tricky situation, and if they have someone they can depend on answering their call, everyone is much safer and their mistakes will be less likely to end in permanent damage. So, don't be a jerk and screen your roomie's call. Answer that thing even it's the middle of the night. The house is the home base, and it needs to be easy to come back to. Don't judge, complain, or preach. Just answer the call and bring your roomie back safely. Or whatever it is they need. Period. Problem solving and life coaching can happen later. Even if it doesn't sound like the person is stressed or in life threatening danger, there's a reason they called when they did and it's time to move.
Watch my video below to get the raw version of these tips. Let me know how you're liking the tips, and what results you're getting at the house with them!
Here's To Your Greatness,
I was recently watching a YouTube Video from Dr. Eric Thomas, aka ET the Hip Hop Preacher. He said it’s important to pay attention to energy and things that energize. I have been re-watching that video constantly. Tony Robbins said in his recent audio interview with SUCCESS magazine that his energy is one of his most important possessions because “with this energy I can do everything.” Wow.
Here’s one of the main reasons these statements resonate with me. Stumbling along through life, taking whatever happens to you, and not resisting the status quo often means that daily life seems easy. There’s no self-directed activity related to larger personal goals to bring any friction. Sure, bad things are going to happen, just like with everybody. But, when someone sticks his head up and decides to take on new challenges in order to re-redirect the course of his life, the world not only grants victories to that person but also puts him through trials. TRIALS.
Someone experiencing difficulty, rejection, huge mistakes, and burnt bridges may view these trials as losing, being defeated, not having what it takes, being unworthy. And yet, as long as the person keeps moving forward, putting in more activity, learning from the mistakes, and persisting, he does move closer to the goal. It’s the law of averages. So after a person figures that out on a logical level, why would he still want to quit sometimes, and go back to just getting by, same stuff different day?
"Develop the habit of doing what energizes you consistently, daily..."
The process of going through the bumps and hardships can suck the energy out of you! But if you can raise your energy level back up without losing too much time, you can see it through to the finish. I believe that looks like this:
1. Pay attention to what gets you fired up even when you haven’t just scored a goal. Do more of that, and use it to tap into like a battery. Develop the habit of doing what energizes you consistently, daily, even when you don’t think you need to.
2. Pay attention to your low moods, loss of confidence, downer feelings, self-pity, feeling stuck, and other low energy moments. When do they happen in your daily life? What comes before those moments? If you can figure out what drains your energy, make a plan to avoid that if possible. If you can’t avoid it, do step 3 as quickly as possible when it happens.
3. Create something to interrupt the low energy and replace it with high energy. Disrupt and shock your system back into a state of belief and activity. Do you need to listen to a recording, look at some pictures, say some words? Make it something you can always get access to. Check out Tony Robbins’ videos about saying these “incantations” before going onstage to get himself jacked up for his audience! I've created a special video just for you, explaining the tricks I personally use to create and maintain an energy wave that I can ride through each day. Watch that video here to get those specific energy hacks: [FIND THE ENERGY VIDEO]
If you’re energized during the times of day when you need to be effective, what difference do you think that will make? I believe others respond to high energy. It makes people open to us and what we have to say. It makes our message and our life attractive. And it’s just more fun to be around energetic people!
Making it to your goals and the life you deserve is the big picture. But all the stuff that happens on the way is part of the rhythm of day to day life. It’s time to be intentional about the energy you bring to each of those days.
Here’s to Your Greatness,
P.S. Here's that video with more specific ways to recharge your energy each day!