If you’ve ever shared a house with friends before, you’ll know how great it can be… and how awful. There is not one person I have spoken to at university who doesn’t have at least one horror story from their house-sharing experiences, myself included. And yet, I still much prefer living with people than being on my own. Shared housing will never be a completely flawless experience, but there are certainly a few things you can do to avoid problems…
- Don’t use your housemates for money.
If they cover you for bills or lend you a tenner for a night out, PAY IT BACK. The same can be said for the housemates that ask their friends to pick something up from the shops for them. If it’s for you, YOU pay for it.
- Don’t make a mess in communal areas.
Do what you want with your bedroom. Put up posters, get a nice little floordrobe going, leave all your books lying around – go wild. That’s your space, so you maintain it however you want. But please, for the love of basic hygiene, clean your damn dishes.
- Don’t be unreasonably loud.
Walls in student houses are often pretty thin. To the extent that if your neighbour sneezes, you’ll know about it. So, with that in mind, try not to blast out your music constantly, or stamp down the stairs for a midnight snack.
- Don’t be a recluse.
This is the one that I am most guilty of. It’s very tempting to build yourself a little duvet nest and hide away from the world sometimes, but don’t go out of your way to avoid eating dinner with your housemates, or having a cuppa once in a while. The people you live with will be the closest thing you have to family when you leave home – so treat them like it.
- Don’t be part of ‘that’ couple.
You know those people who got together in first year, and are now so used to spending every day together that they never leave one another’s sides? Yeah? Don’t be them. Of course it’s totally fine to live with a partner (if you think your relationship can survive that), or see them as often as you like, but don’t ignore your other housemates or make them feel like awkward third wheels.
- Don’t steal from your housemates.
If you think you can take a swig of someone else’s milk without them noticing, or pinch an egg and believe you won’t face consequences, you are very wrong. Just don’t do it. Hell hath no fury like a student deprived of their pot noodle.
- Don’t be careless.
If you’re renting your house, you’ll have put a deposit down. And you do not want to lose it. So try not to spill cider on the carpet, lest you want your vampire of a landlord to bleed you dry of all your savings.
- Do be a good person.
Is that really so difficult? Respect your housemates and they’ll respect you. If they’re feeling down, try your best to cheer them up! Like I said, housemates are the closest thing you have to a family at uni, and you’ll all need support at some time or another.
Overall, housemates are worth the hassle. Sure, they’ll wake you up when they come home drunk every now and then, but that’s ok, because you’ll probably stink out their room with your cooking, or disturb them when you sing a little too loudly in the shower. Living with people can be the most fun ever, you’ve just got to make sure you’re all still friends at the end of it!