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The Beneficent Fairy of Friendliness! 🧚
Imaginary friends aren't just for kids
This post is geared towards housemates in community homes, but the lessons are applicable to anyone living with other humans, whether they’re family, roommates, or a significant other.
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I’m sure you’ve been there before: you arrive at the kitchen to make yourself some lunch and you see the sink piled up with dirty pots and plates from another’s meal. Or you open up your dishwasher only to find that someone ran it with a wooden spoon inside that’s now chipped. Or you notice that the compost bin hasn’t been taken out and now you have a plague of fruit flies marauding your banana peels.
In these (and innumerable other) cases of shared responsibilities in a group home, there are chores that slip through the cracks. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and mere anarchy is loosed upon the kitchen, the backyard, the bathrooms. It is precisely in these moments where our patience for communal living is tested, and we flirt with the prospect of just quitting all these barbarians and fleeing to the seclusion of a studio apartment where at least one’s mess is one’s own to deal with. But resist, my friends, and don’t despair, because your salvation is here at last!
Enter: the Beneficent Fairy of Friendliness! 🧚
The Beneficent Fairy of Friendliness (BFF) is an emoji who lives in your house group chat. The fairy exists to take care of you and your housemates, and it loves nothing more than a clean and loving home filled with people who live gratefully and graciously with one another. When people slip up and neglect their responsibilities, the fairy swoops into the chat to gently, but firmly, remind everyone in the house of the standards and agreements by which we all collectively thrive. For example, if someone put a wooden cutting board into a dishwasher, the BFF might send a text that says “🧚 Remember! Wooden items degrade in dishwashers and need to be washed by hand!” By calling out the behavior without finger-pointing or shame, the fairy reminds housemates to care for their shared space and give it the loving attentiveness it deserves.
The BFF can be invoked by anyone for any reason - it doesn’t belong to one domain of the house or set of responsibilities. If someone in the home begins a text with the 🧚 emoji, then the message is no longer coming from that housemate, it’s coming from the fairy. By adding a layer of distance and whimsy, people who message the house chat through the voice of the fairy aren’t seen as accusatory or nagging, they’re bringing in a holistic, third-party observer who can help everyone see the bigger picture of what’s best for the house.
For example, instead of Alice writing “No one took the trash out and now we have mice,” Alice can write “ 🧚 BFF here to remind everyone that we all need to pitch in and empty out the trash bins when they’re full so that we don’t attract little furry creatures! Also, I’m buying humane mouse traps and charging the house fund!”
Here are some examples of how the BFF has played a role in our home:
The fairy can also be used to call out moments of gratitude, praise, and delight. It’s nice for everyone to maintain a balance and not use the fairy exclusively for loving admonishments. Here are some examples of the kind and unprompted things that the fairy has written:
Ultimately, the most important aspect of the fairy is its non-judgmental nature. We all know that mistakes happen, circumstances change, and sometimes people aren’t able to live up to the commitments they aim to keep. In these times, the compassionate and gentle BFF reminders are usually sufficient to remind the whole family that standards of cleanliness and care for the house are everyone’s responsibility, and that there’s no blame or guilt needed when we fail to live up to our aspired goals. The BFF exists to assuage our fears and keep each other accountable, not to introduce more hostility and passive-aggression.
By inviting the fairy into our home, we are agreeing to avoid being non-confrontational, but in a way that doesn’t incite negative-leaning accusations. Using the 🧚 is meant to be the emoji’d embodiment of call-in culture, not call-out culture, and if used well, the BFF can keep your house together in a world where it can be so easy for an unwashed knife to cleave it apart.
Suggested further reading:
If you found this helpful, know someone else who might? You know what to do!