Living in community- think of your home as a business and your living partners as co-workers
Whether we are living in a family setting, with roommates, a partner, or like a herd of horses, living in community is all about learning how to coexist with others once we pull off our bra and put on the sweatpants. It’s tempting to leave all your best behavior on the floor with the discarded bra, but here’s the thing: The people with whom you share your most intimate space in life are the people who deserve the best of you. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever let down and relax, but remember that these are the people who will most likely be there at every twist and turn in your path, and are the ones you can lean on when the going gets tough and celebrate with when there are wins in the game of life.
Consider your home team the same as a work team when it comes to scheduling. If you are looking to make plans, make sure they know about those plans. Will you be out late, will you have friends over, or are you staying home one day when you wouldn’t normally be home? Just think through how your plans may affect their life and establish a system of communication around your calendars.
- communicate and respect each others expectations of living conditions
Do you like a neat house and they don’t mind a messy one, or are you a walking tornado living with a neat freak? Listen, there will always be one person who is messier or neater than the other–no two people are exactly the same. Sit down and share your expectations, come to an agreement about roles and responsibilities, and then for pete’s sake, be open to being held accountable instead of getting defensive!
- explain your emotional state
I’m dating myself here, but back in the days of the original ER shows, the main character Meredith Gray was described as being dark and twisty. Can you relate to that description, or do you know someone who fits that description perfectly? We all have our times when we’re not at our best–some of us more than others for sure. But, how you show up with the people you live with makes a huge impact on the level of enjoyment others take from sharing your space. Do you know what helps a ton? It’s pretty simple–just share when you are having a tough time, when you are feeling dark and twisty, and let your living partner(s) know that it isn’t about them. Unless it is, and then refer to the part about keeping your accounts short. Letting others know you are having a rough one can help you process the situation and give them context to be patient with you. Remember though, being dark and twisty isn’t an excuse for abusive or rude behavior, and really no one deserves that so if you can’t manage your emotions, then it’s time for emotional regulation work.
- serve them
Why serve and care for your living partners? These are the ones who see you when your hair is a mess and you haven’t brushed your teeth. When we live in community, our community thrives when everyone in it thrives. When we take care of others in our community, we help them thrive. So start creating a living community that is healthy and nurturing by looking for ways to take care of those in it. When you create a culture of serving each other, it feeds upon itself and everyone wins. Pick up their dishes when you’re heading to the kitchen, ask if they want you to fill their water bottle as they are rushing around getting ready for the day. Help show them how beautiful it can be when we all look out for each other.