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Learning to Live with Others

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If you’re used to living in a home of your own, then you might not be prepared for the

difference when you move into a retirement community, condo or apartment. But because

it’s easier to care for, and often more affordable, an apartment or condo could definitely be

in your future. That means you need to find a way to live comfortably in an environment

that can take some getting used to.

Know Your Boundaries Early

Everyone has their own idea of how multi-unit living should work. For some, it’s like a

college dorm with lots of opportunity for new friendships and short conversations. But

other people prefer to keep as much privacy and autonomy as possible—even in a multi-

unit setting. Know what you want straight out of the gate and determine what your

boundaries will be for conversation times, length of conversations, pop-in guests and so on.

Defend Your Boundaries

Once you’ve established to yourself what your boundaries are, you need to integrate them

into your daily life so that your neighbors begin to understand them and are less likely to

unknowingly violate them. Setting boundaries is difficult, especially when other people

don’t seem to have any boundaries at all. But if you allow people to push your boundaries,

they will not respect them and will consistently overstep. You don’t have to be rude or

defensive when presenting your boundaries, but you do need to be strong and consistent.

When your boundary has been reached and it’s time to end a conversation, have a kind way

of letting the other person know that you enjoyed talking with them but must get on with

your day.

Get Ready for Noise

Few apartments and condos are as quiet as single-family residence living. Depending on

your unit, you might hear your neighbor’s television, hear them taking showers, even hear

murmured conversations. While some loud noises, especially late at night or early in the

morning, are unacceptable and can be complained about, others are a natural part of living

with others. That means it’s important for you to learn to be patient and tolerate when

others are simply living with a normal noise level.

Multifamily unit living is all about being strong and learning to compromise. With practice

and determination, it’s something you can master without losing friends or making enemies.

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