How to Get Your Neighbor (or Partner) to Do More Housework

Common sense is that in order to keep the peace in your home, household chores should be equally divided among the people who live there. Whether you’re sharing work with a roommate, partner, or both, this two-pronged approach will get them to get more work done without a fight.

The first step is to look at the responsibilities each person must perform and assess whether they are similar in effort or time required to complete them. As behavioral economist Dan Ariely points out , try to be objective and don’t assume that the work you’re doing is harder or more demanding just because you can’t see all the tasks the other person is doing. If you both agree that household chores seem unbalanced, reverse them to make them seem fair. My boyfriend and I do this by alternating between daily chores around the house and the collaborative effort of Sunday. We both do each task the same number of times a week.

The second point is to express gratitude to the other person for the efforts they are making to maintain the household. Over time, it is easy to forget, but The Greater Good explains , why it is important, especially in the relationship:

In one series of studies, researchers asked romantic partners about their household responsibilities, how grateful they were for completing them, and how satisfied they were with their relationships. The team found that the more people appreciated their partners for the chores they did, the more they communicated that they wanted to do them and even enjoyed doing them. For most people, doing more things meant they were less satisfied with their relationship, but this negative effect evaporated for people who felt appreciated for the work they did.

So, sincere gratitude to the other person for taking care of their own affairs helps to change the dynamics around them to something positive. Aside from this two-part approach, you can also try some tricks that will make housework more fun, like spending time together blowing up your favorite playlist or competing with each other (or for hours) to complete your tasks.

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