For many people, their first time experiencing a shared house is when they move away to go to university. Lots of students think that since living with their parents and siblings was such a nightmare moving out could be the best thing that has ever happened to them.
More often than not they find out that the reality is rather different. Sharing a house with other people can be just as difficult as sharing it with the family, but because they’re not as close to you it can be difficult sorting out problems. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help making living in a shared house as easy as possible, and if you have a particularly troublesome housemate there are also ways you can deal or cope with their behaviour.
Tips for being a good housemate
- Try to keep communal areas tidy – while you might be perfectly happy with a messy bedroom that doesn’t mean your untidiness can extend itself to the kitchen, bathroom and living room.
- Be considerate when playing music – you might think your taste in music is amazing, but other people won’t necessarily agree. Try to keep your volume at a reasonable level or invest in a good pair of headphones if you absolutely must have your music blaring.
- Don’t eat other people’s food without asking – this will seem obvious to most people, but there are still plenty of house sharers out there that don’t mind letting their hands wander when they get hungry. If you absolutely have to eat someone else’s food without their permission let them know as soon as possible and make sure you replace it.
- Let people know if you have friends staying over – while nobody expects you to sign people in and out of the house, if you’re having guests staying over it’s polite to let other people know.
- Settle all bills promptly and equally – this avoids any type of argument or disputes cropping up later.
- The most important tip: get to know your housemates and their individual likes and dislikes. Some people might insist that you always put the toilet seat down but aren’t too bothered about whether you’re not the quickest to clean your plates.
How to deal with difficult housemates
The key to resolving most relationship problems lies in communication, and it’s no different for problems with housemates. Often you’ll find that a difficult housemate is just one that isn’t aware you’re unhappy. Let them know what it is that’s upsetting you and what they could do to change it in a tactful manner – however, be prepared for them to also have something to say back to you; you’re not perfect after all.
The other way to best deal with difficult housemates is to ensure that you compromise whenever possible. This way they can see that you’re also making the effort to get along and problems should hopefully resolve themselves.
However, if your housemate’s behaviour is completely unacceptable, or perhaps even illegal, it could be worth informing your landlord. After all, you have the right to live in a safe space and to be treated with respect, even if you aren’t best of friends with your housemates.
This post was written on behalf of OCVC.