For introverts, nothing’s more important than alone time. Seriously, our need to spend time alone to recharge is so vital, we can experience physical symptoms if we don’t get it.
While having your own place is the ideal (trust me, I had my own apartment for 3 glorious years and it was the best), sometimes personal circumstances cause us to forfeit that luxury.
Introverts with Roommates
This happened to me recently. I moved back in with my parents at the age of 26 after living on my own for four years. I was the sixth person to move into this house, which includes my grandmother, both my parents, and my younger brother and his girlfriend.
This transition was jarring, to say the least. But I worked together with my parents to ensure I had space to call my own. We transformed a guest room into my very own living room, plus I got my own bathroom.
I’ll admit, I got very lucky, but I wasn’t always so lucky. As a kid and a teenager, I was only allotted a single room to call mine (as most are). During my first two years of college, I shared a dorm room (that was smaller than my bedroom at home) with a roommate. In my last two years of college, I shared an apartment with three other girls.
What I’m saying is, I’m no stranger to making the introvert life work when sharing a living space. Here are three of the best tips I’ve gathered for creating an introvert haven inside a house full of people.
1. Use a White Noise Machine
This machine has been my savior, seriously. A white noise machine is a little round device that emits a noise similar to that of an air conditioner. It works wonders in blocking unwanted sounds from your personal space.
If you don’t have the means to get a white noise machine, you can download white noise apps on your phone or use a YouTube video. I even listen to white noise through my phone with noise cancelling headphones when eating lunch at work or cooking in the kitchen at home.
This doesn’t drown out all noises, however. Bass, for instance, still comes through, but it blocks out enough that I can escape into my own world when I need to and forget that there are other people around.
2. Create Your Own Space
When I was a kid, I, unsurprisingly, spent a lot of time in my room. So much, in fact, that the space began to feel stale, and I had a hard time falling asleep at night. Still, I refused to spend my down time in a common family room where I knew people would be walking through and talking constantly.
To avoid this, try to create separate spaces within your bedroom. Get a chair or a couch to create a boundary between your sitting area and your sleeping area; maybe use a bookshelf or two as a makeshift wall. Get creative and make the space your own!
3. Set Clear Boundaries
This is something that I struggle with a lot. But learning how to assert and prioritize your needs is so essential to your well-being. Make it clear that if you’re going to have social time one day, you need the next day to yourself.
Call upon your ability to listen and empathize so that you can better create a compromise. If your roommates unwind by having guests over or playing loud music, then give them their day and demand quiet time the next day.
If all else fails, memorize your roommates’ schedules so that you know when you can have the place to yourself and work your schedule around that. If your roommates like to chat with you while you’re cooking dinner or making lunch, try to schedule your meal prep time when you know no one else will be home if you prefer to do these activities with yourself.
Create Your Introvert Haven
Of course, these solutions aren’t as idyllic as living alone, but they’re a start. Give them a try and see how they work for you.
What about you? Do you have any tips of your own for taking control of your space when you live with roommates?
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