How to be the perfect (ish) flatmate

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Photograph: Chris Potter

So as we all know, it’s inevitable that at Uni we’re going to meet people whom we’re not always going to see eye to eye with. When it comes to living with these people, there’s obviously a heightened risk of awkward situations and arguments. In this article I’ve provided you with a bunch of tips which should help to maintain the peace between you and your flatmates / housemates.

Be willing to share some of your belongings. By ‘some of your belongings’ I simply mean the odd plate, bowl, pan and so on, since it’s only polite. Of course you’re not going to appreciate the people you live with bursting into your room and using your toothbrush, but in many cases, sharing is caring, and in my opinion, interrogating your flatmate or housemate about a used fork is a little excessive.

Keep the noise down. When its 4am, playing your music at top volume is more than likely to seriously annoy the people you’re living with, and since as Uni students we have heavy workloads, it’s inconsiderate if you can’t be relatively quiet. Perhaps make a rule that in your flat or house: noise should be kept down between the hours between 11pm and 9am. That way, you’re setting concrete times for when louder noise is and isn’t acceptable, which also means that if your flatmate or housemate doesn’t stick to it, you have the right to confront them about it.

Be confrontational in a calm and relaxed manner. As much as you and your flatmates or housemates may try to get on, you can’t please each other all of the time. There are going to be moments when you’ve irritated each other at least a little, and when that happens, it’s important to approach each other relatively calmly. Shouting at each other will only make you seem really uptight, (unless they’ve eaten all your food – in this case, shouting would be acceptable) and not even mentioning that you’re annoyed will just lead to you getting more annoyed with yourself. That’s certainly not fun or even remotely healthy.

Don’t overload the fridge and the freezer with your food. Of course, as students, it’s only natural that we’re going to want and need plenty of food to keep up our strength (and our will to live) when we’re doing Uni work. However, when it comes to stocking up on food, you need to be sensible. Perhaps make a list of essentials before you go food shopping, so that you’re making sure you’re buying meals, snacks and so on to last you a week, rather than three months. There is nothing more annoying than opening the fridge or freezer and discovering that you can barely fit any of your own food in, since someone else has filled it with tubs of ice cream, family packs of chips and a ridiculous amount of bread loaves.

Finally, don’t make a mess. Making a mess is one of the things that would be enough to drive any flatmate or housemate insane, since nobody, or at least most people, don’t desire to live around dirt. Make sure that if you’ve used every pan going to make your meal, you clean them up afterwards. Understandably, when you’ve just made your tea, you’re going to want to eat it before you clean up, and there will always be times where you don’t have the time to wash up a few pots and pans, but just make sure that you don’t let it get out of hand, and that when you have a chance to clean up, you do.

So there you have it. A list of tips which should help to make life a little easier for you when it comes to living with your flatmates or housemates (most of which I don’t exactly always manage to stick to, but let’s ignore that!)