Do you have a roommate who’s giving you a lot of attitude? Are you sharing space with someone you feel a lot of animosity from? Is your shared condo living situation peppered with sudden bursts of drama? As the song goes, you might have some advice to give on how to be insensitive.
Yes, we just called you insensitive (and probably got that sappy Jann Arden song stuck in your head), but don’t feel bad. Condo living in the Philippines can be complicated and difficult when you’re sharing your condo with a roomie, especially if you don’t share the same personalities or attitudes. And most people can’t naturally pick up on others’ feelings so, like most people, you’re probably overlooking some cues. That said, we’ll give you some advice and tools that just might help you become less manhid.
When pets are a pet peeve
Are you an animal lover living in one of the numerous DMCI properties around Metro Manila? You probably appreciate that you’re allowed to keep your dog or cat in the condo. But maybe your roomie doesn’t: some people are allergic, while others get scared around them. Observe your roomie’s reaction to your pets. If you get the feeling that they’re not comfortable with your furry friend, talk it out with them. Discuss the possibility of having designated pet zones in your pad.
Discussing issues? Try nixing the notes
Sometimes, you may have a problem with your roommate and decide to tell them by leaving a note. Sure, you can tell yourself that leaving a note is respectful because it lets you give the other person space. On the other hand, it’s even more respectful to be upfront with your roommate about these things. As adults (or people trying “adulting”), you must be able to discuss things rationally and face-to-face.
Nobody likes a moocher. Nobody likes to feel that they’re buying food, clothes, shoes, perfume, makeup, conditioner, toilet paper, and so on, only to have someone “borrow” or “use just a little bit” all the time. “I always ask for permission though,” you might say. But ask yourself: when’s the last time you lent something or let your roommate use something of yours? If it seems like you’re always the one getting something, then maybe you should try dialing up your contributions a notch or two.
Having non-knocker tendencies
Privacy is important, especially when there’s precious little of it. So when you’re sharing space with someone, it’s important to respect physical boundaries (read: doors). Any closed door is closed for a reason: your roomie is chatting with her folks abroad about a sensitive family issue, he works from home and is liaising with his boss about an important project, and so on. Being a co-tenant doesn’t give you or any roommate the right to traipse through any space willy-nilly. Knocking is a good habit to acquire.
Some chores should be yours
Do you have a cleaning lady? A butler? A Roomba? A laundry woman? A chef? Chances are, you don’t; in which case, you and your roommate have to do the cooking and cleaning yourselves. Check if you’re doing a fair proportion of the chores. Even if your roommate is better at cooking, cleaning, and every other kind of housework, you’ve got to share the load. Splitting the chores requires a lot of communication, so be prepared to have ongoing discussions with your roomie about it.
Don’t run from the rent
Make a list of the benefits of condo living, and you’ll probably find that those benefits come with costs that you have to split with your roomie. The biggest is rent, of course, but you may have separate electric and water bills to pay as well. Any other shared services that you subscribe to, such as a working Internet connection or cable, also have to be paid for. Everyone has lean months when budgeting is hard, but if you’re pulling out the “just this once” or “IOU” card a little too often, then it doesn’t matter if your roommate says it’s okay. Trust us: it’s not.
One man’s food is another’s allergen
Food is a simple joy for most people. But it could also be one of the unseen things that compromise your relationship with your roomie. Your choice of food can be crucial. This may surprise you, but some people don’t want to have pizza every day. Even when taste is not an issue, health or comfort can be: maybe your roommate has allergies to certain ingredients, and some people have trouble breathing when the room gets too hot, so it’s best to avoid meals that take too long to cook. Don’t wait for your roomie to start wheezing before discussing your respective culinary preferences.
BPO workers know the struggle: one of you works in the day shift, while the other works night shift, mid shift or graveyard shift. Rotating shifts are even worse. If you and your roommate are on different schedules, you have to think about whether you’re respecting their sleep time. Maybe you laugh too loud when you binge-watch episodes of your favorite show or maybe you should be using headphones more often. You probably know how overly emotional people are when they don’t get enough sleep, so it’s may be worth talking to your roommate to lay down some rules regarding rest.
When small talk’s a big deal
Sometimes, you try to figure out how to deal with your roommate when you should be figuring out what you’re doing that’s rubbing them the wrong way. You may think small talk and chats are a good way to break the ice, but the truth is that people have personal taboos. Some people can’t stand to talk about politics, while others find gossiping about celebrities unbearable. You may hate discussing religion, philosophy or anything that’s too existential. It sounds like a lot of trouble, but sometimes “what do you want to talk about?” is a reasonable question to ask.
Your friends aren’t theirs
“Mi casa es su casa,” you might say to your amigas or drinking buddies. By all means, feel free to welcome friends into your pad once in awhile. But keep in mind that you’re sharing the space—and shooting your roomie a text on the day itself isn’t always good enough. You can host impromptu house parties when you’re living on your own, but as long as you’ve got a roommate, you’ve got to give early notice of such plans.
Everyone wants a happy condo situation. So when you’re sharing the space with someone you have a problem with, you need to try to fix it; otherwise one of you has to leave. Unfortunately, moving out is not a financially viable solution for most people, so being sensitive and diplomatic is way more practical. Nobody’s saying you have to be best friends. But your relationship with your roommate should be built on mutual consideration: give them respect, and you’re likely to get it from them too.