Many Filipinos work abroad hoping to provide for families and prepare for their future.
To further squeeze meager income they receive from their monthly wages, they give up personal luxury and comfort so that the bulk of what they receive is sent home. This includes adapting to the cramped, crowded, and often noisy environment of shared apartments. These are dwellings that are often extended beyond their capacity so in the process, saves tenants the burden of
While flat-sharing is good economically, several possible issues could come up between you and your housemate — who may or may not need a written contract on ethics as part of house rules. Soon, housemate problems may emerge, and here are some of the main culprits.
Importance of having good relationships with housemate
Having a good relationship with your housemates is important for several reasons. First, it creates a positive living environment, which can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. A good relationship with your housemate can also lead to increased social support, as you have someone to talk to and share experiences with.
Additionally, a positive relationship with your housemates can help you feel safer and more secure in your living space. Good relationships with housemates can also promote healthy communication skills, which can be beneficial in other areas of life such as work, family, and personal relationships.
Finally, good relationships with housemates can create lasting friendships and connections that can extend beyond the duration of the living situation.
Common problems with a misbehaving housemate
Your housemate steals your food.
While you did everything — bought the ingredients, prepared the utensils, cooked, and patiently waited — someone else ate it as you blinked (went to the bathroom, changed clothes, etc). As the domestic home is traditionally populated by members of the family who naturally share food, the mentality gets carried over even on dwellings people who cohabitate because of work or other arrangements.
Your housemate fails to settle rent on time.
You often have to remind him or her that rent is past due. Sometimes he or she pays up, but on certain occasions, this housemate seems prepared with excuses all the time: delayed salary, just sending the entire month’s wages to family in the Philippines, loaned the money to a friend. And the list goes on. So you sometimes end up paying the entire rent, utility bills, and other expenses in the house.
Your housemate has bad hygiene habits.
He or she doesn’t do regular laundry, shower daily, or brush teeth. As a result, you tolerate this person no matter how disgusted you are just for the sake of civility in the apartment. Becoming a roommate is a perfect way to discover one’s habits and uncover dirty secrets. They may look dignified and well-dressed outside, but housemate often
tell show their true characters by the way they behave in the house.
Your housemate takes your belongings.
Shampoo, cooking oil, spare coins, or toothpaste, nothing gets spared. This flatmate saves more money at your expense. You just bought a dozen eggs, six-pack beer, and rolls of tissue, but they exhaust faster than you can consume. Sharing the expenses — buying eggs and equally dividing them — could be a solution, but your housemate consumes more than he or she is entitled to. You can only wish this person does not use your toothbrush or wears your clothes.
Your housemate damages your things but doesn’t replace them.
When sharing apartments with other people, you may encounter tricky situations. For example, you once lived alone and provided your own set of cookware, furniture, and appliances. Now here comes a new housemate whom you agree should not have to pay his or her share of the household items you bought. But one day, you noticed the television is no longer working and remembered that your housemate just had a Netflix binge on his day off yesterday. You ask him about the problem, but he offers an alibi, not a solution.
Your housemate beats you to the toilet and spends an hour there.
Just as you were preparing yourself to go to work and had to do your assigned household chores such as washing the dishes, arranging the mess on the table or do a vacuum cleanup, he or she spends most of the time in the bathroom at the shower or other personal necessities. You could spend another half-hour while he or she does his or her routine. This could easily turn worse if you are sharing the toilet with several others, with a few of them requiring longer alone moments.
Your housemate leaves you with restless nights.
You wish the day would end in a comfortable sleep, with you or your housemate snoring or not. But your roommate schedules his or her chat with the family at bedtime, or can’t modulate voice during a phone conversation, or prefers to sleep with lights on. You could only wish for serene surroundings by 11 pm, but your housemate just arrived with tales to share, so you can expect a delayed slumber and a grumpy day at work the next day.
Your housemate is fond of collecting someone else’s ‘trash’.
Trash is relative, depending on who you ask. Some housemates gather whatever they can salvage from the neighborhood dump: discarded books, computer keyboards, used pairs of shoes, or anything that can be part of the next batch of the balikbayan box. Such a habit made it more difficult to move around your already cramped room.
Your housemate leaves notes instead of talking to you.
This passive-aggressive behavior is exhibited by some housemates who can’t seem to man up and be civil about potential tensions in the house. Left the flat iron plugged in. Music too loud at midnight. Failed to return the nail cutter. Forgot to pay your share of the expenses. You may have done one or more of these things. A simple verbal reminder might have solved the problem. But for some reason, this housemate prefers to leave a sheet of paper with a handwritten note posted on your desk or stuck on the fridge.
In the age of mobile phones, your housemate might just be sending you SMS instead of speaking to you personally.
Your housemate brings people over without telling you.
Some housemates treat the room as if they exclusively use it. So they bring over people, some of whom you don’t know personally. As a civilized being, you treat them with respect and serve them food, offer a place to rest, fresh towels, and so on. But without being told in advance, you are shocked to arrive home and find strangers hanging out in the living room, eating at the dining table — or sleeping inside your shared room.
Impact of housemate misbehavior
Housemate misbehavior can have a significant impact on your living situation, mental health, and overall well-being. Noise pollution, dirty living spaces, stealing, not paying bills on time, and hosting unapproved guests can all create tension, stress, and feelings of discomfort.
Living with a problematic housemate can cause a range of negative emotions, including anger, frustration, and anxiety. It can also lead to a lack of sleep, which can impact your physical health and ability to concentrate.
Moreover, dealing with misbehavior can create a financial burden, especially if your housemate is not paying their share of the bills or is causing damage to the living space. You may be forced to take on additional expenses or even pay for damages caused by your roommate.
How to resolve housemate conflicts
Resolving housemate conflicts can be challenging, but it is important to address any issues as soon as possible to prevent them from escalating. Here are some steps to follow:
- Communicate: Open and honest communication is the key to resolving housemate conflicts. Try to approach the conversation calmly and respectfully. State your concerns and listen to your housemate’s perspective.
- Find a compromise: Once you have identified the issue, work together to find a compromise that satisfies both parties. Brainstorm solutions and be willing to make concessions.
- Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and expectations for living together. Create a housemate agreement that outlines shared responsibilities, such as cleaning, paying bills, and hosting guests.
- Seek help: If the conflict persists or you are unable to reach a compromise, seek help from a neutral third party. This could be a mediator, counselor, or landlord.
- Take action: If your housemate continues to engage in problematic behavior, you may need to take action to protect yourself. This could include involving the landlord or seeking legal advice.
There are other nasty experiences overseas Filipino workers who are forced to settle in such shared apartments or shared rooms to save costs and squeeze their monthly incomes. But while such occurrence is unpleasant, they also teach us valuable lessons about humility and contentment, the virtue of patience, and the motivation to strive further all in the name of success.