How To Live Peacefully (Really) With Roommates: 5 Tips.

 In 2017, nearly 79 million adults (31.9% of the adult population in the United States) lived in a shared household–that is, a household with at least one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or unmarried partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student.[1]

I’m not surprised, living on your own can be very expensive, especially as a young person who is pursuing a career in a major city. I have lived away from home since I was 19 . At university; I shared a unisex housing building with 11 other guys and girls; shortly after that I lived  in a self-contained studio apartment, and right now I share a cozy 2 bed with my friend, so you can say, I have experienced my fair share of roommate drama.

Co-living residential spaces are becoming increasingly popular in major cities in the US.
Residents have access to private furnished bedrooms within beautiful shared suites.
Photo Credit: hi.common (Instagram).

”Shared on-demand rental apartments, are viable options for millennials residing in metropolitan areas such as Lagos, Nigeria.”
Photo Credit: Fibrehomes(Instagram)

Truth is many people have a roommate from hell story, some see it as a rite of passage as a young adult. Learning how to share your personal space with another human being is a transferable skill that comes in handy in all facets of your life. Living with a friend, colleague, someone you met on craig list, the first few years out of university whilst you stabilize your finances is a great way to save enough money, before you eventually get your own place with a future spouse or partner.  You can split bills, living expenses, share the burden of managing household chores and make a lifelong friend whilst you are at it, sounds like a win-win situation right?

Well, slow down your horses, there are a few rules that can help smoothen the inevitable kinks and ensure a pleasant cohabitation.if you successfully stick to them you should have no problems living with anyone until you’ve saved up enough money to buy your dream townhouse.

  • Great Friends Don’t Equal Great Roommates

I’m sure this comes across as counter-intuitive, if you can spend 4 hours chatting on the phone with your bestie, enjoy laughter filled brunch sessions and endless shopping trips together, then you should automatically make great roommates, right? well not really. Just because you get along with somebody, doesn’t mean that you guys can or should live together, I will go as far as saying you may end up potentially ruining a great friendship if you do. If you will live with your best friend, I assume you know him or her well enough to know their personality, temperament, habits are. If your friend is a slob and you are a neat freak, I don’t care how much you like each other, you cannot live together,harmoniously.

Most people have this fantasized idea of what living with a best friend will be like, frankly if you are over 25 I don’t advise it. Think about this, most of the time, you schedule time spent with your bestie; mentally you both are in a space where you want to catch up and have fun, laugh and let your hair down, or lend a listening ear. However, you don’t see them 24/7; you do not get to see them exhausted after a long day at work,when all they want is their glass of wine and bed. If you expect that it will always be late night girl chats, your personal live-in entertainer, comedian, chef and therapist you will sorely disappointed and resentful, be realistic.

Not all friends know how to handle conflict in a productive and healthy manner, it’s okay if you have disagreements with your friend, you don’t speak for weeks and when you do, you guys move on as if nothing ever happened, if that works for your friendship, hey I can’t knock it, but when you live together, it’s a recipe for creating an unhealthy home environment (I will discuss further shortly). Disagreements are inevitable when you live with someone, if you and your friend are passive aggressive or overly confrontational, then it’s best to just leave it at sleepovers sis.

” If you must live with a close friend;set expectations about significant others, realize that common areas require boundaries, and discuss introvert/extrovert preferences”
  • Bills Bills Bills

This is one in particular, is for my Africans in the house (don’t shoot the messenger), please do not think it is okay for you to move in with a stranger or even a friend, and think you will “wing it”, “see how it goes” or ” believe that there will be a mutual understanding” regarding paying bills. Before you move in both of you MUST mutually agree and decide on this important aspect of housekeeping.

In whose name will the bills be in? How frequently will they be paid  (bi-weekly, quarterly) and how i.e. by cash or electronic transfers? An established structure of how things work must be in place. There are great apps such as Splitwise and Zently (available for free on the web, Android and Iphone devices) that help you split and pay expenses easily between multiple groups of people. A lot of people get uncomfortable talking about money and bills, especially if they live with “friends” but I think it is better to have these difficult conversations at the get go, to avoid unnecessary complications. It would also be ideal if both of you can be transparent about your respective financial situations going into a living arrangement, i.e  are you both employed full time, students etc

The same thing applies to household chores, there is nothing wrong with creating a roaster, assigning tasks and responsibilities suitable for everyone’s schedule, I know I am making it come across like you are running a military operation but I believe that disharmony will thrive if some form of structure doesn’t exist, don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

‘Try to pay for groceries separately, be direct about who owes what,be transparent, also develop a policy about splitting bills when long term guests are in the picture”
  • Bend It Like Beckham

In other words, you have to throw in some good measure of flexibility and compromise. People differ on what they consider a clean house or a quiet environment. My idea of having friends over is just one friend, for someone else that may be seven, learn to compromise within reason. Truth is, as far as both of you are going 50/50 on the rent, you can’t dictate, how the common areas will be furnished, or how often the house is cleaned.

Take into consideration his/her lifestyle and be realistic, ask yourself does it really matter if they do things my way, and if the answer if yes, then you might have to rent your own space.

Grown adults, are not malleable, if you find an issue unbearable raise it, any reasonable person will make adjustments but do not expect it to get done the way you want it always and be ready to pick up the slack if it is important to you. 

“Work as a team when creating housekeeping schedules and decorating shared areas,be patient, allow time for adjustments to each others habits,dislikes,preferences etc.”
  • Private Matters

Would you feel comfortable living in a space where you had to always log out of your email account, because you are afraid that your nosy roommate would browse through your in-box when you stand up to get coffee? Do you have to hide everything that comes in the post, because it tires you, dodging unwarranted comments from your roommates. Does everything that happens to you become gossip for him/her and their friends?.

Your privacy matters, you must expect it and create an environment that fosters it. If you don’t have a close personal relationship with your roommate be cautious about discussing private matters and divulging personal information to them. Equally, you must allow them the space to take the lead, and do not bring up their own personal affairs, unless they have implied in conversation or otherwise that they are comfortable sharing that information with you. 

Many people have a tendency to feel entitled and take this personally but honestly as long as they pay their share of the bills and fulfill their housekeeping responsibilities they really don’t know owe you anything, the only time you may butt in without their permission, is if you perceive that are involved in criminal or illegal activities that may endanger your well being. Otherwise mind your business.

”Never give away your password for online accounts,set boundaries about bedroom privacy,limit the sharing of sensitive information i.e bank details,social security number,family related issues”
  • Be Friendly Be Nice

Everybody loves to come home to a great environment, and I don’t mean tidy and clean. If you constantly bicker with your roommate about everything chances are that you will not look forward to spending anytime at home. What was supposed to be your sanctuary becomes a negative space for you.

Create a space where you learn how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a way eliminates unnecessary long-term tension, have difficult conversations respectfully, if you are mad at something, it helps to calmly reflect on the issue first, that usually calms you down, instead of lashing out immediately at your roommate. If anytime you come home, your roommate is scurrying to their room or you can barely acknowledge each other in the morning, then there is a problem. You don’t have to be best of friends, but you need to be cordial and friendly, you can establish a relationship by organizing a games night, going out for a movie, to dinner, get to know and understand each other.

Remember that he or she is most likely going to be your first point of contact if an emergency occurs, it pays to be on good terms with them.

“Volunteer to cook dinner some nights,invite mutual friends over for viewing parties e.g the world cup, be cordial when they have family/relatives over”

These are just a few rules, that I think would be great to live by, I have made lifelong friends with absolute strangers, by applying these rules in my personal life, living with people doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it can turn out to be one of the best experiences of your life, if you try.



Is Self Confidence Important? I think It’s Amazing (Part 2)

So how do we develop our self-confidence, I stand here today to say I am not the connoisseur of all things self-esteem or the arbiter of tips, but I would love to offer my two cents?

You see I don’t think you can build confidence if you don’t determine whom you are, without that,you cannot ascertain what you like about you,and a huge part of having high self esteem is actually liking yourself.

Asides from purpose, gaining self awareness is the singular most important thing every young adult must aspire to achieve, for one it helps shape your world, because when you become acquainted with whom you are, you can establish what path in life is best for you, what spouse, what career, shoot where you would like to live. 

Second, a big part of building self-confidence is being competent (I call it the art of being excellent at something).

Ndidi Ndekwu

I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel fantastic about themselves because they recognize they have that one skill that makes them stand out. Confidence, affects your body language, the way you talk, your approach to your surroundings etc, notice how when you go to a party, but you don’t feel wonderful in your dress, you end up spending the whole night sitting a corner with your sad little cocktail (lol).

When you feel wonderful, you exude self possession, because you are happy with yourself. The truth is, you can only get excellent at a thing when you master it.Meaning you can only get great at being you, and therefore feeling wonderful about yourself by identifying and working on your strengths and weaknesses.

“We can be frightened by our assets, as we are our shortcomings;we deny and disown our greatness because it scares us”-Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology Of Self Esteem: A Revolutionary Approach To Self Understanding That Launched A New Era In Modern Psychology

This requires honesty, self-exploration and experimentation.

Ndidi Ndekwu

Be honest about your likes and dislikes, your temperament, your personality, your work ethic, your emotional and physical capabilities. This doesn’t happen in a day, maybe not even in years, you may have to even unlearn years of brainwashing by your environment, and you may not even like who you are after this exercise, but that is okay nobody is perfect and if we were it wouldn’t make us human.

Be unafraid to be yourself, people always throw around that phrase,but it is usually more easier said than done.First there is significant social capital gained by conforming, if individuals find you too weird or not relatable, then it can lead to problems navigating social spaces. Second, we all dwell within a cultural and social framework where “rules” and “norms” exist going against the grain occasionally might be detrimental if it leads us to breaking the law, being ostracized, etc.

Being a “non-conformist” sounds cool in theory but in practice it might serve you better to blend in sometimes. Being yourself is not a license to be distasteful individual, meaning if you are naturally rude and lacking in manners, you will need to refine your behavior, you must stay true to yourself, but in a way that is kind and compassionate in your dealings with the surrounding people. Lastly, as a bible believing Christian, I am subject to God’s laws and order, I am not at liberty to do as I please because ‘’that is just how I am’’, I must consider all actions in line with God’s word.   

So let’s really unpack this, why is self-awareness such an important pillar in building self-confidence, we’ve said that, it’s good to identify strengths and weaknesses, this gives us direction on how to orient our beings so we can make decisions that in the long run prove beneficial for our self-esteem.

Take Nana (see previous post) although she graduates summa cum laude, she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers because they are all IVY leaguers, well she really can’t change this can she, it’s not particularly a weakness that can she can work on, but she however is very articulate and gives killer presentations, so yeah she may not speak up at meetings but if she takes the initiative to always do the speaking during presentations, the positive responses she gets will eventually lead her to feel confident enough to speak up during meetings.

If you can recall I mentioned she was having doubts concerning her relationship, truth is she feels her boyfriend settled for her, she doesn’t really know what he sees in her, it’s okay because she knows she can be needy and erratic (who will put up with it she says), but she is also a very compassionate girl, and is a fantastic company when she tries. 

So what if she gets therapy for her issues, and decides to be more sociable so that her personality can come through, months down the line, she feels more balanced and is happy with herself; she feels confident enough to get out of her relationship and meet new people.

“Consider yourself worthy of enjoying success,take responsibility for your actions and the obtaining of your goals”-Nathaniel Branden The Psychology Of Self Esteem: A Revolutionary Approach To Self Understanding That Launched A New Era In Modern Psychology

Self-awareness helps you to live purposefully, once you can identify who you are, you do things that align with your being and what you want out of life. If the goal is to improve your expertise at something, you inculcate the steps to get there; you discipline yourself; you take full responsibility for what you can control, everything about you becomes intentional, as you work towards becoming a better you, you add and subtract ideas, beliefs, people ways of doing things as your competence grows you find it easier to assert yourself, this also comes with being more self-aware, then you like yourself, because now you know what you are great and not so great at and you are okay with that.

I think it is important to note that, when people think about self-confidence, they think it’s okay to build it so you can achieve material success only. Many people are perfectly okay being confident at work, but they can’t ask for what they want in their marriage, or vice versa. Truth is, when you are confident it should permeate in all areas in your life.

Now does that mean your life will be picture perfect, I really don’t think so, but I think you will live a fulfilled and satisfied life because you know you all the decisions you made to get to the place where you are today comes from a secure and confident place, even you face a speed bump along the way, you know that you did your part, you are aware you can’t control everything, but recognize, you have what it takes to face any challenges that come your way.

Okay, so personal story time, I will be honest with you, I’m not someone who came out of the womb brimming with confidence, ready to tackle anything that stood in my way. I’m actually now working on my self-esteem, well I have been for the past one to two years, some days I waiver, I have days, weeks, months were I feel great, occasionally that annoying little voice will tell me I’m not really that great and I compare myself to such-and-such, I am very much a work in progress.

When I talk about self-awareness, this is part of my journey, I do a lot introspections; I try to figure out who I am, and why I act in certain ways, I had to get honest about what I really want out of life and not what society says I should want, my faith helps, I also read a lot of books on psychology and self-help, never underestimate the power of absorbing positive messages and learning how to understand how the mind works and how you can change it for your benefit.

I hope, anyone who reads the blog post gains something helpful out of it and develops the confidence to live the life they truly desire.

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Is Self Confidence Important? I think It’s Amazing.

I want to tell you a story about two women. Let’s call them Stella and Nana. Stella is a young entrepreneur, she sells personalized mugs and shadows as a part-time makeup artist; she loves both jobs; she prefers the freedom of working at her own pace, then there is Nana, Nana just got a job as a risk analyst at a very reputable firm, she is thinking of taking her CFA exams next June; she likes to cook, she’s been told that she is fantastic at it by her boyfriend, she would love to make it a side hustle, if she could find the time.

On the surface both women are fine, of the two Nana is the more accomplished, she graduated summa cum laude, lives in a nice apartment, her boyfriend is about to propose (she doesn’t know that yet), and takes Instagram worthy vacations at least twice a year. Stella just makes enough to cover rent and bills, thrift shops most of her clothes and spends most of her Friday nights bingeing on Chinese fried shrimp, cheap beer and watching make-up tutorials on YouTube, but she’s a happy girl, she comes from a loving family and has wonderful friends.

Different women, same struggle, a lack of self-confidence.

For Nana, it shows up at her workplace; she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers; she finds it difficult to assert herself and voice her ideas during meetings; she is also having issues in her relationship; she is not sure if her boyfriend is suitable for her, but she will settle because she doesn’t think she is good enough for anyone else. Stella needs constant external affirmation, she doubts her skills as a makeup artist; she doesn’t believe she has what it takes to to establish a successful business; she looks at other individuals around her; she sees them thriving, and she feels as if they all have something she doesn’t, some secret formula she is not privy too.

They both represent each of us at some point. In her course on self-esteem, hypnotherapist Marisa Peer states we are all born loaded with confidence, the problem is that something happens to us along the way, that disrupts our self-belief. Some of us are born confident and die confident (lol) some of us struggle all our lives and finally decide enough is enough ,then we just fake it until we make it (God help us).

Truth is, the moment we attach greater weight to external opinions of our being, instead of what we think of ourselves, our sense of self-worth erodes. How people respond to us, how we come across to other people, when these matter far more than they should, then we run into serious complications. Why do we do this? Maybe because we do not trust ourselves, I mean what if we wrongly assess our capabilities or competence, there is probably some price to pay socially, but if we always have to seek external validation as an indicator we are doing the right thing or are on the right path, we risk losing our ability to judge what is best for us in the long run.

Having high self-esteem doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, it’s about being internally convicted that we have the wherewithal to make reasonable value judgments, given what we know to be true. We trust in the efficacy of our decision-making process.

Ndidi Ndekwu
High Self Esteem-”The way and ease at which you express the pleasure of being alive”-Nathaniel Branden The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem.

What premium do we place on having a healthy sense of self, can we not just fake it and wing our way through life, after all some may say it would be arrogant for us to assume that we know what is best for us, besides no human being is truly confident all the time, you are always wondering if you are good enough, constantly comparing, dissecting and analyzing how valuable you are,always second guessing your position in the dominance hierarchy?

So why don’t we examine the importance of having a healthy sense of self, take Nana for instance, who I mentioned earlier was a great cook, people tell her all the time she should start a catering business, they swear they would patronize her if she charges for her delicious jollof rice, she really wants to do it but the problem is she doesn’t think she is any good. She thinks her friends are just being nice, therefore; she doesn’t believe that this venture would be profitable, so she doesn’t invest in it.

Fast forward to a few years down the road, Tolu, her friend also starts a catering business, and everyone is talking about it, the food is delicious and affordable, a mutual friend remarks, how they can recall, Nana used to make a superb food, they wonder why she never started her own catering business. She responds that she never found the time, but deep down inside she resents Tolu, because she has the confidence to do what, she couldn’t.

Self-confidence is the tool needed to turn our dreams into realities. There is always a possibility that when we venture out, we risk failure; we ARE painfully aware of this, but despite this, we require the courage to act or else our inertia can lead us down a path of regret and disdain as we saw with Nana Without an unshakable belief in self, we cannot dive in and tackle all the challenges that new ventures, obstacles or life will throw at us.

So how do we build our self confidence?

I will discuss this in my next post.



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Self Esteem Mini Course by Marisa Peer

She does a brilliant job in providing practical steps for us to build self confidence.

You can watch the full video on youtube by typing in the Marisa Peer Self Esteem Mini Course.

I will be blogging about self esteem,self awareness and self confidence this month.

The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

I was not that into him and I knew it.

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Lagos, too hot. I knew without a doubt I wanted to end it; I had grown bored, and the distance wasn’t helping; I felt no ounce of remorse as I picked up my phone and dialled his number, in less than ten minutes, I told him; we were done; he didn’t beg; he said if that was what I wanted he was okay with it, and I felt a huge sigh of relief, the relationship had run its course. 

It was time for me to move on to new things, I had lost the “loving” feeling.

Now, I know that paragraph makes me come across as a savage but I’m not one;truth is I realized that I wanted to be single and be by myself. My attention was drifting, my tolerance was wearing thin, and everything seemed to get old, fast.   

You know in various ways there were a series of events that led me to this realization, for one, there was a lack of real connection, I don’t think we were compatible, and I lost interest.

Was I in love? No, I have never been.

I believe what I experience is being present, when it’s good and going great, I allow myself experience the emotions that go with relational attachments, the infatuation, and the euphoria.

But when it ends I’m left questioning the validity of my emotions, because I seem to move on quickly

But does it mean that when relationships end, they have to be rife with endless hours of sobbing, sadness and brooding for them to hold weight and meanings in our lives, I don’t think so. Must we always be in love with everyone we date, be it two minutes or two years.

Feelings, emotions and love are three very different things. We can have feelings, desires and longings for people, who will share portions of our lives but we will not love all or dare I say any of them.

In our modern society, we see romantic relationships as avenues for gaining experiences about what loving means; I beg to differ. They don’t all teach you about love, some don’t even teach you anything at all, dare I say, they can leave you feeling bitter, frustrated and confused. Sometimes they teach us about ourselves, other times we are just young and we want a boyfriend who knows? Sometimes we have these experiences as a rite of passage into adulthood.

My point is we musn’t always look for love in every relationship, it is impossible to find it. 

We socialize women, from an early age to think we must seek for meaning in monogamous relationships, no matter how short lived the affair is or how ill-suited you are as partners. 

Real love takes time, connection, and the willingness to put in the work to achieve that, and sadly most of us don’t know how to, shoot I’m only truly understanding what it takes and I am 30.

I will wrap up this series this week with my last lesson over the weekend.



The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

It was lust at first sight; he was tall dark, and intense in his pursuit, I made the initial move, but he was the aggressor, I attract very direct men. From the first date, there was a strong connection, we enjoyed each other’s company and there was an undeniable vibe between us. I grew attached quickly, looking back now I don’t think it was love, I was just overwhelmed by the attention, and I guess this was my first mistake.

Everything went so well in the first few weeks, we exchanged text messages incessantly, we went on clandestine dates; we spent hours talking about every and anything, and I felt I had found the one. He mentioned that he had told his mum about me; I was excited, but soon enough cracks in our blossoming relationship showed up.
At first it was the “vagueness” of what it was we were actually doing that made me unsettled. Where we friend with benefits, boo’d up or  companions,I had no clue, I was too busy enjoying the ride to stop and ask myself those questions.

One day, on the way to a wedding,i did.
He said “We are lovers”, “What we have is deeper than being defined as a boyfriend and girlfriend”.
Today I would roll my eyes and laugh at this answer but,I was just too happy to be with this man I had  idolized, that I didn’t care,”as long as we spent time together” I thought, that’s all that matters.

Next came the petty irritations, if I said the wrong thing he was mad, if he asked me to do a favor and I made a mistake he was furious, he complained that I vain, that I didn’t know how to talk to him, that I spent too much money on weaves,(I wonder what he would say now if he saw my collection of wigs lol).
I didn’t measure up, if we went out and I was quiet, he would be uncomfortable with my introversion, if I was jovial with his friends, he would deem me too flirtatious and we would have arguments about it, nothing I did was ever suitable for this man, and eventually I had enough and pushed back.
I became verbally abusive, if he started it I finished it a 1000 times over, I was mouthy and took it to some disrespectful places. I would not let any man talk to me like I didn’t have value.

There was a lot of back and forth,we would fight then reconcile, then fight, it was tiring. It slowly devolved from a budding romance to an unhealthy cocktail of one part friendship, two parts lovers and three parts confidants who couldn’t stand each other,sometimes.
We both knew it would not work, he wanted a woman he could control and conform; he had his ideal, and I was not it,but I wouldn’t let up,I was in love with an idea of a man that wasn’t reality, I had gotten attached to a fantasy, the looks, his career, the money, I was in love with all that not with the actual person.
If I am honest,he became a symbol fulfilling my need to be with someone who looked like a catch; I guess in a lot of ways; he was a catch, but he was a man and just like anyone else had his own flaws too,it was obvious,we weren’t compatible.

This situationship taught me that, love and emotional attachment are two different things. 

There was love there I won’t lie, but I was more so emotionally attached than anything else.
Emotional attachment is self-centered, it is all about you and how the person fills a void;it stems from a place of lack,the object of your obsession,because a source to fill your need.

I got addicted to the initial attention because it was so persistent; I was probably struggling with some esteem issues, so the relationship was a way of saying to myself that if I can bag a guy like this, then maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am, he was my crutch.
I didn’t really see and accept him for who he was; I saw him for who I wanted him to be, what I wanted him to represent and that is not love.

Sure, he was an asshole in a lot of ways, but looking back now, I feel this was a man who was just looking for a woman who catered to his ego; I don’t think that’s a bad thing each to their own, but I didn’t really see that and to be honest my oversight caused me to act,in ways that pushed us apart,as I was just so focused on the symbol of the man, that I didn’t see him.
Approaching romantic relationships from with this mindset is a very dangerous thing, what exactly do you want from this person? Love, fulfillment, a good time, good sex, financial security, you need to always be honest with yourself first even if you don’t like the answer.
I also learnt quickly that passion, great conversation and chemistry does not always equal compatibility and is not always a recipe for a successful relationship.
Trust me, I really don’t even enjoy writing this but it is what I have discovered to be the truth, I mean if you overlook these, then where really is the fun?
Sure, it is a great way to start, but from experience it is really not enough, it could mean you guys would probably be great friends (if sexual attraction isn’t an issue, that’s another blog for another day lol). What we had, was not lacking in that but it wasn’t enough.

We didn’t take the time to know and understand each other well enough; I also don’t think there was mutual respect and admiration for each other and that comes from taking things slow and really getting know the person, so you can learn to appreciate them and their qualities.
So it fizzled out naturally, we spoke off and on just as friends for two years, he always tried to get back into just “hanging out” as men usually do, but frankly as soon as I realized this wasn’t going anywhere I moved on, we are no longer in touch, no bad blood or anything, but in life some experiences are just there to teach you then you move on, at least that’s how I see it.
Love that “lasts” is really not too hard to find but sometimes you have to slow things down,take as much time as possible there is no rush, be willing to see the person for who they are  and understand nobody will come and fix your problems and make you feel good about yourself, that is your job alone.
The second lesson coming soon.