Flatmate Etiquette

As an adult living with a stranger there are certain behaviors that are not agreeable when sharing a space. As modern life and increasing social isolation forces us to mix with with people in the most intimate way by sharing living quarters. Sometimes we would like to live in a place but the cost is too expensive so we get a flatmate. Sometimes due to work we are forced to share a space and the common space that is communal is usually the kitchen and sometimes the bathroom. 

I returned from work to find a sink filled with dirty soapy water and a container lid floating on top. Clearly he had made the effort to clean his dishes but he left something behind. As I prepared my lunch and breakfast for the next day the stagnant water just sat there in the sink. Soap bubbles that concealed what was underneath dissipated revealing left over food at the bottom of the sink. There are only a few things that I have to clean and after eating my dinner and gathering all the things I had to wash I left the mess in hopes that he comes back before I go to sleep. There is no communication regarding when he will be here in the flat. He may not be back for the weekend or he may come back after his shift. 

Ba(r)be and I had a chat. She is in the process of packing and downsizing in preparation for her move. Her most recent roommate just moved out a few days ago and we were discussing how her presence affected her. It seemed like the room mate had an effect on her stirring up feelings that haven’t been felt for a while. She saw in that room mate her younger self learning to navigate the big world and developing strategies to face it. Their strategies mirrored each other this leading to friction as they rubbed each other the wrong way. Ba(r)bs and I discussed this as she was conscious of these feelings as they negatively affected her mood. 

The issues that lead to these feelings stemmed from etiquette and cultural norms of behavior that are needed in order to live harmoniously with another. Her room mate made demands that were unexpected and after she left she left a mess to clean up. Ba(r)be just shrugged her shoulders and got on with it as there is no point in dwelling on these acts but the flatmate wanted to pick up some groceries that she forgot to take with her and demanded to pick them up at a time inconvenient to Ba(r)be. As she told me this she also expressed how that behavior that she experienced caused those old patterns to be remembered. She told me of how she saw a glimpse of herself in her reaction to that behavior. I’ve never experienced that from her and it’s interesting how we are getting to know each other though our chats and the events that happen to us along the way. 

My flatmate didn’t show up by the time it was time to turn off the lights. I drained the sink and threw out the left over food that remained in the bottom of the sink. I’ll have to say something the next time I see him. I wonder how he will take the criticism. I guess it’ll depend on how I phrase it. It’s not like I’ve never been criticized myself. I’ve learned from my past living areangements with people that there are some things that have to be done in order to have a harmonious life living together. It’s not complicated just keep things neat and tidy. Cleanliness will go far in creating harmony amongst people. 

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