Whether you’re a student with limited funds and a few too many bills, or someone with a large group of friends who have a flair for being good flatmates, chances are you will share accommodation during your university years. This has its ups and downs, and through various lessons learnt, here are my housemate resolutions for next year.
The best advice I can give myself and anyone else struggling with their housemates is to communicate. There’s no point being annoyed if you don’t do something about it. You have as much right to be there as the others, and as much right to feel comfortable and secure. If something is troubling you, whether you think that it is a big issue or not, speak up and resolve it. This will save you so much time and aggravation.
If something is troubling you, whether you think that it is a big issue or not, speak up and resolve it.
Living in a house together means taking equal responsibility for it. This means working together and collaborating on certain jobs. Figure out what the tasks are early on, and agree on a solution (a rota, for instance) collectively. Sometimes, extra problems — like mould in the rubbish bin— will crop up. It’s easy to assign blame and leave the situation in one person’s hands, but help someone out today and they might be there for you tomorrow.
Follow a certain queen’s advice and learn to let some things go (but don’t turn away and slam the door). It can be irritating when you find your clean dishes used and left aside, or the boiler turned off when you switched it on two minutes ago. Before you get annoyed at a minor inconvenience, consider whether it might be healthier to just ignore it. That missing spoon probably won’t come back to haunt you.
Part of letting go is learning to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their point of view.
Part of letting go is learning to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their point of view. Maybe you told your flatmate to do their dishes, and here they lie a week later, festering and mouldy. It’s not a pretty sight but think about it: perhaps your flatmate is stressed or unwell. Talk to them and figure out what’s wrong. If they’ve just been sitting around for no good reason, find a suitable (preferably non-passive-aggressive) method of retaliation.
Things will not always go to plan and you might have to compromise (worst case scenario, you might not even get a say at all). To make your life a bit easier, appreciate the good — are they particularly good at bossing (I mean, organising)? Maybe they steal your cutlery but do they clean it afterwards? Or perhaps they’re night owls but never bring late-night raves to your place. Consider the positive and remember, it could be a lot worse.