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Life with a "Green" Freak

written by: Julia Bodeeb•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 3/1/2010

Some people are so "green" they make others exasperated with their demands to save the planet. Some helpful tips are provided here to thrive when living with someone who holds dear the concept of green living.

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    It is important to remain calm and patient when living with a “green” freak. Some people take their wishes to save the environment to an extreme level. Sometimes this causes confusion or exasperation from other family members.

    So remember to listen and avoid reacting negatively to the green freak. They are good at heart; their green obsession typically stems from a deep desire to protect the planet for their children.

    Be Calm

    Remind the green freak to remain calm. It is not acceptable to shriek if someone forgets to put a plastic bottle in the recycling bin. Have a talk with the family about the importance of living green and also remind everyone to not be judgmental about the occasional slip up.

    Be Consistent in Green Efforts

    Families should work together to make recycling a habit. They should also forego “treats” like a big SUV or frequent jet travel. Going green does require the occasional sacrifice. Kids get a mixed message if the family is green on an every day basis but then cares not a whit about their “carbon footprint” as they jet about the world on vacation or eat many foods shipped in from other countries.

    Discourage Excessive Purchase of Items

    Don’t go on a shopping spree for recycling bins, green shopping bags, or other items a green freak might “need” to fulfill their green wishes. Remember, second hand is best. Ask friends and relatives if they have any unwanted items you could use. Scour thrift stores and dumpster areas for used items that will serve your needs. Avoid retail stores.

    Use Green Items as they Work

    If green detergent does not quite work on getting your clothes clean then keep searching until you find a green product that works. Do not allow a green freak to mandate that an item that isn’t effective continue to be used. One must have hygiene and cleanliness in the home.

    Encourage Moderation in Converting Others

    Remind family members that it is not polite to harangue other people about their non-green habits. One may gently encourage green ways and give gifts that are “green” in nature. However, it is not worth alienating people by lecturing them about how they are destroying the planet with their lifestyle. People change gradually; the green freak must realize they cannot easily change everyone to their way of thinking.

    Humor Helps

    A sense of humor goes a long way toward making life easier when living with a green freak. If someone is up on the roof preparing for a green garden up there when it is blazing hot or freezing cold just humor them and chuckle a bit to yourself as they go about their work. Don’t harangue someone who is starting a new green project. The project is very important to them so be supportive. Keep your witticisms to yourself; if you must just crack a few jokes to other people and let the green freak live in harmony.

    Avoid Deal Breakers

    Do not let the green freak create “deal breakers” in regard to green living. Don’t allow your relationship to be tainted by demands like we must go camping on vacation that will make one partner uncomfortable. Remember a relationship requires compromise and negotiation. Remind the green freak that one person in a relationship cannot set down all the rules for how the couple will live.

    Give Compliments

    Encourage the family to compliment each other on living a green life. When one sees someone recycling or using secondhand goods give them a compliment. Kind words go a long way to creating a loving home. So spread some love and give as many compliments as possible to reward green behavior and to show your love.

    Do Green Projects Together

    Do green projects as a family or a couple. Good deed projects are a wonderful bonding tool. Some green projects might include taking a walk around town to pick up garbage, building bird houses to help wildlife, planting trees or flowers, or creating a garden for an elderly neighbor.