Spending 24/7 with anyone is bound to bring out both the best and worst in a person.
We all have our individual quirks and habits, and while we are used to the way we do things, our tendencies might drive others crazy.
And when you combine that with the stress from COVID-19 – whether it’s due to loss of income, anxiety over catching the virus, or just the disruption of routine – conflict is bound to occur.
Now that you know conflict is inevitable, here are few ways you can manage it during this quarantine season.
Give Each Other Space
It’s critical to give each other some breathing room – especially if you live with an introvert!
If your roommate is in the kitchen making breakfast, give her some space to cook and move around before you come out of your room and make your food.
This isn’t always possible, but often it is.
Allowing people space to unwind and decompress is key.
If you’re married, give your spouse freedom to take a walk (without you), catch up with their friends on the phone, sleep in, get some work done, etc.
Just because you’re home together – it doesn’t mean everything has to be done together!
Set guidelines where perhaps from certain hours you both refrain from loud noises (TV, music, personal calls) so you can get some work done.
Experiment and find what works best for you.
Practice Your Communication
Since you’re locked up together – you’ll be forced to deal with conflict face to face.
If there is a serious issue building up, the conflict avoidant type will want to sweep it under the rug where the confrontational type will want to have a drag out war.
Neither are helpful.
Instead, practice dealing with issues as they come in a healthy way.
If you need space, or you’re upset about your spouse or roommate leaving dirty dishes in the sink – communicate it.
Don’t resort to calling them names or acting passive aggressive.
Chances are, the other person might not even realize what they are doing is upsetting you!
Calling them a “lazy slob” or accusing them of deliberately being annoying isn’t going to help anyone.
Instead, own your part and say something like “Hey, having a clean space is really important for my mental sanity. Would you be willing to put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher or wash them after eating?”
If the person isn’t a jerk – chances are they’ll have no problem!
Create an environment where each person feels safe to share how they’re feeling.
You might want to even have a daily (or weekly) debrief to share about your day or week – what went well and what didn’t.
By allowing everything to be on the table, you can avoid having things bottle up inside and allow an open space to share and be real with each other.
This is also a great chance to practice acceptance – realizing that people are who they are – you can’t make an extrovert be an introvert.
Some people are naturally going to be more messy than others.
Instead of trying to change each other, learn to accept one another – it will bring so much more peace!
During this season, everyone is bound to be a little bit on edge.
The times are stressful!
Give the person in your life grace.
Be willing to overlook an offense or have an extra dose of patience – you’d hope they extend the same courtesy to you!
(h/t Better Change Project)