If you share a house or a room with someone who's not family, address these seven deadly sins to keep a happy home!
Sharing your living space with someone else is no small thing. A considerate roommate or housemate can make daily life a joy, while an inconsiderate roommate can make it miserable. The biggest problems that usually come up in shared housing situations revolve around the practical aspects of sharing space—things like the division of labor, for example. One of you may feel like you do all the chores. Or if you both help keep things tidy, it’s doubtful that you’ll always be on the same timeline. She may think doing the dishes every other day is satisfactory, while you expect a clean sink every morning at breakfast. Usually, each person has unmet expectation that needs to be brought to light.
The answer to most practical aspects of sharing space is this: work to communicate better. Learn how to share your frustrations in a charitable way. And practice being able to listen to someone else’s side of the story without interrupting or becoming defensive.
But once you have had some good conversations to nail down expectations, there’s more to improving roommate relationships. The following is a guide to making yourself a better roommate, and is based on the seven deadly sins:
Check your envy
Envy is often characterized by feelings of resentment and bitterness linked to wanting what someone else has. What does your roommate have that you don’t? A boyfriend? A better job? A less crazy schedule? A loving family? If you find yourself resenting him or her because of that one thing you want, take a step back. Envy might make you pick fights simply because you’re sad and feeling bitter because of what you lack.
Remember that pride makes us unable to acknowledge our faults
If your roommate brings up a concern that she has, and your gut instinct is to ignore it or to explain why that’s not really a problem, then your pride is getting in the way. Get into the mindset that if your roommate confronts you with something, you are probably in the wrong, and need to work to fix it.
Be aware of any sloth seeping in …
A different kind of problem that may arise in your relationship with a roommate or housemate is that you may just ignore each other. You get into a rhythm with your schedules, and interact with each other only when absolutely necessary. This may be a good working relationship overall, but be careful that it doesn’t veer into callousness. You don’t want to be completely indifferent or unfeeling towards this person. A good remedy is to schedule a regular meal once or twice a month where you eat together and catch up and touch base.
Wrath involves anger that wants revenge
When your roommate does something that frustrates you, intentionally or not, beware the passive aggressive response! If you want to get back at them, and cause them the kind of upset that they caused you—that’s a big red flag. Run away from that plan of attack. The golden rule applies here: don’t do it to your roommate if you hated when they did it to you.
Watch out for lust, gluttony, and greed
Let’s group these three together as they all relate back to selfishness in a roommate relationship. There are various ways that lust, gluttony, and greed can show up at home with a housemate, but if you struggle with an overwhelming desire for enjoyment related to sex, food, or possessions, the relationships in your life are going to suffer. The more focused you are on pursuing one of these things to make you happy, the less focused you will be on loving the people around you well. Breaking your obsession with whatever it is will give you a new perspective on everything else in your life.
As a last note, when you’re struggling with relationships where you know you need to improve, call on St. Joseph. He was the only one with original sin in his family. St. Joseph, pray for us!