Moving into a flat can be an exciting time for any teenager. You finally get to have a slice of independence, have your own room, and begin your life of adulthood. When you meet your flatmates everything seems great at first and they seem so wonderful to live with. But soon enough you’ll realise there are many types of flatmates out there that are difficult to live with. The friendly atmosphere can come crashing down at any minute.
While I was at University I learnt that flatting can sometimes be a nightmare, different personalities clash, and some people just don’t see eye to eye. It can be rather scary adjusting to a new city, a new job, and living with strangers/friends. So what can you do when you get bad flat mates? How can you keep the peace? Over the years there are a few things that I’ve learnt. Here we go:
Sometimes you might not always be so lucky to share a flat with people you know so well or get to meet them first. Especially if you’re studying and desperate for a flat. If you are looking for a flat look at the job advertisement first. This will usually have keywords like respectful, considerate and so on. Do you fit what they’re searching for? Then again if you’re searching for a new flatmate a good question can be, tell me a bit about yourself? If they don’t meet the criteria or if they send off negative signals, pay attention! Once you sign a 12 month contract, or a long flat contract, that’s a long time to live with people you aren’t so fond of.
If my experiences have taught me anything it’s that you should never live with (some) friends. Even if you think you know them things can turn ugly. Until that person is in your face 24/7 and you start to see their flaws you might be in for a big shock. You eventually have to learn how to stand up for yourself otherwise you get walked all over. There can be tantrums, arguments, and all sorts and you really wonder why on earth you agreed to live with that person in the first place! It’s just not worth ruining a friendship by living together. Then again it’s not all doom and gloom! Living with some friends has been a breeze. We got along well because we were similar people, I suppose that’s what it comes down to.
2. Hang Out
If there are different cultures and people in a flat it can be really good to just hang out with each other (if you want to). My friends and I would cook dinner together once a week and have a good old chat. We would bake some muffins or go to the movies. Celebrating birthdays was also another big thing! If you happen to be living with strangers there are a few things that can break the ice. I remember watching TV shows with a girl I had just met and eating junk food together. Perfect. There are always going to be people you just instantly click with. Another great way to get to know people is to have a gathering, some call it a flat warming. It gives people a chance to bring their friends round and just chill out. Anyone for cheese and crackers? Yum.
3. Have a Cleaning System that Everyone Agrees on
When there is a system failure in a flat it usually comes down to cleaning. People eventually end up yelling, “Did you do the dishes, did you REALLY do the dishes?” These type of people will leave a mess everywhere. Their room has a stench in it that is slowly wafting down the hallway, and you’re terrified to even think about what is under their bed. As a rule of basic hygiene if you make a mess you clean up that mess. You’d be surprised at how many people cannot do this.
I’ve seen people leave unspeakable things in the toilet, on the toilet floor, and on top of the toilet yet they just leave it there even after they are politely asked to clean it. WHY. Were these people not potty trained early in life? Have they no decency? I admit I’m a tidy person but that does not mean I want to clean up disgusting things. It doesn’t matter if you’re lazy or if you have different levels of hygiene in the flat it’s a team effort. Anyway, morale of the story is that you should try to lay out some ground rules for cleaning. Maybe a roster (if there are like 8 people in one flat) or a quick chat as soon as you move into a flat to see what works for everyone. Otherwise the arguments over cleaning will never end.
3. Be Considerate of Others
You’ve just settled into bed and you’re about to fall asleep, when BAM loud music starts playing and the house starts shaking. When you have to get up early for work the next day or you have an exam what can you do? If you’re losing sleep it can cause bloodshot eyes and grumpiness. Not good. It’s all about the golden rule; be considerate. It’s handy to know when people in the flat work, when they need their sleep, and when it’s appropriate to have friends round. Say for instance if there are quiet people in a flat versus loud and outgoing ones it can be a bit of a clash. If people continue to be inconsiderate and throw loud parties and you don’t like it, perhaps that flat culture isn’t the right one for you.
A Happy Home is a Good Home
There are some big clues as to when a flat is not a good place to live. It really isn’t worth staying somewhere that makes you feel like you have to hide in your room or avoid other people. I’ve met some really cool people while flatting, and others just don’t gel so well together. Flatting can be really fun when you find the right people to do it with.
I hope this helps anyone who might be flatting for the first time, or anyone struggling who is on the verge of tears. If you do end up living in a bad flat hopefully one day you can look back and laugh about it. After all flatting is only temporary. One day you’ll have your own place and it’ll be pure bliss.