3 minutes - Article
So you've got your own place, but how do you you keep it? It starts with setting boundaries for you and your guests.
Amanda Gladue works as a Youth Housing Outreach Worker for the Indigenous Housing First program at Native Counselling Services of Alberta. Amanda works with youth on finding and keeping their housing.
“We start with guest management before we even move youth in. We're asking, what are the rules of your home? Landlords will have rules, and we need to work those into the youth’s rules,” says Amanda.
Make rules for your guests
It’s important to think about rules that apply to guests. “Are you comfortable having guests all day or only part of the day?” asks Amanda. “Other rules I’ve seen are no friends over during the week… For another youth, it was no substance use aside from cannabis.”
Make sure you understand the rules of your lease. Take the time to read your lease and know if there are any restrictions about guests and what time of day they are allowed. Following the rules of your lease help you keep a stable place to live.
Don't disrespect my cat
Not all guest rules have to be super serious. Amanda tells us, “Some rules are really cute. I had a youth who had a rule not to disrespect their cat.”
It’s also completely ok to decide that you won’t have any guests over, period. “I've had youth decide none of their friends are coming to the house because it could trigger things such as substance use, loud noise and things like that,” says Amanda. Remember, no one has a right to be in your home but you.
Your place, your rules
Sometimes it’s hard to tell your friends what to do, but you’re in charge of your home and you have the power to decide what happens there. Amanda recommends having conversations with your friends to explain why you have the rules that you do.
“You can just say ‘I'm really scared that I'm going to lose my housing because we were partying or we have the TV or music on too loud. So I really need you to respect that, and let's maybe stick to going home at 11:00 pm.’”
It's difficult, but worth it
It can be really difficult if you try to have those conversations and your friends don’t listen to you. Sometimes you might have to just ask them to leave, or call someone to help you. “It’s a skill for youth to say, ‘OK, you know what, you need to leave.’” says Amanda. “If there's a security guard on hand you can call them. If they're still not going to leave and they're really insistent, maybe you have to call the police.”
Amanda reminds us that it’s ok to be firm in the boundaries you set with guests. “In the future, if your friends aren't listening to you, does that mean they don't come back? Does that mean they're not allowed there for a couple of weeks? There's going to be circumstances where it doesn't work out as you wanted it to. It’s ok, you used your voice and stood up for yourself.”
Good friends respect your rules
Good friends will respect the rules you have. As Amanda says, “I've actually had youth come back and say ‘My friend didn't react well to my rules. However, I think if they respected me and they loved me, they would have handled my boundaries better’. It’s really empowering that even though it didn't work out with their friend, they still learn to value and love themselves.”