They’ve happened to the best of us, but most fallouts can be avoided if you stick to a few golden rules…
1. You use it, you pay for it.
Whether it’s for electricity, alcohol, milk, bread or candles – you name it, you’ll dispute it. Student budgeting isn’t always easy, and inevitably it’s always somebody else’s turn to pay. Our top tip is if it’s for everybody to share, split the cost evenly every time, and make sure everyone has the money upfront!
Taking it in turns to pay for things inevitably means somebody will think they’re paying for more than their fair share, while dividing it between all of you every time just takes the hassle out of it.
2. Flatmates’ food is sacred, especially the good stuff
This is a familiar one. You’ve splashed out on some Jaffa Cakes (or other luxury sweets/cakes/biscuits), but someone else has gone and eaten the last of them! Of course, no one will own up to it – would you?!
There are a few solutions here: firstly if you’re not communally shopping, you might want to initial all your food items to save any mix-ups. Or if you’re really over protective of your sweetie stash, perhaps consider keeping a secret tin in your room to store all your treats (remember to keep this away from the radiator!) Don’t get too wound up though, things like this will even themselves out over the year.
3. Cleanliness is next to Godliness
Ok, so you may not have to go as far as Sheldon, but it IS important to keep your abode hygienic. You all cook and you all eat. But no one wants to own up to the mountain of washing up you’ve collected as a result… There are a few ways around this one:
Are you eating/cooking communally or is it every (wo)man for themselves? If you’re sharing plates, food etc. it follows that you’ll need to share washing up duties! A set rota is one way round this, or a casual agreement that whoever cooks that night doesn’t wash up and vice-versa. If you’re cooking individually, everyone should be responsible for washing their own things. Simple!
4. That’s not remote-ly funny
You’ll be pleased to hear that the familiar family battle of what you’re going to watch on TV doesn’t ease when you get to university. Don’t be surprised if not everyone understands your obsession with BoJack Horseman… There are a few ways to solve this:
The most obvious is to buy your own TV. Keep an eye on Amazon deals or check out what Tesco are doing, you should be able to get a small telly for about £120. The other option is to pay for a Netflix subscription or use catch-up services. You’ll still need to sort out who gets the TV when, but you wont miss your favourite shows.
(Please note that you will need to source a TV license to watch TV in your room or house. This is also the case for online viewing platforms including BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. If you’re in doubt or would like more information, please visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk).
5. Silence is golden
Students are known for keeping unsociable hours. Some of us find our brains work better at 4am, others shine brightest in the morning. It’s hard enough to live together if you have completely opposite timetables, but throw music into the mix and you’re going to have a problem.
Just as you don’t want to be woken up at 8am to the sound of Taylor Swift slamming her exes, they don’t want to try and sleep through Norwegian death metal. The trick here is simple: communicate! Tell people if you know you need a quieter night because you’ve got an exam the next day, and in turn use headphones after midnight to give everyone a chance to sleep. No sleep = ratty housemates.
6. Finally, everyone is different…
…and nobody is perfect. It’s important to remember that you may annoy a housemate just as much as they annoy you, but it’s all about compromise. Living away from home with a bunch of mates is a huge and exciting part of your uni experience but, as with most aspects of being an adult, you can’t escape if it goes a bit wrong.
In most cases you’re stuck with your housemates for at least a year, so setting boundaries and rules early – and talking about issues as soon as they arise – are really important techniques to ensure you get along like a house on….erm….