We’ve all been in that situation where we move into our shiny new abode with our ah-may-zing new BFFs, we make it our home, we settle in with a boxset and a Chinese and everything seems perfect. But what do you do when those rose-tinted glasses come off? When you realise that maybe one of your housemates doesn’t understand cleanliness? That they don’t know how to take a bin out? Or, God forbid, they spent all their money in Freshers week?
Here’s a guide on how to resolve those pesky flat feuds once the honeymoon's over:
1. The kitchen situation
It’s happened to all of us. You move in with a bunch of your mates and you find out that living with your mum wasn’t such a bad thing! That bin which has now been overflowing for two weeks because you and the other members of your house have decided to take a passive aggressive stance and just leave it! But no matter how many times you mention in passing that you’ll do the cleaning again, one house member just doesn’t seem to get that they’re living in a way you don’t like (btw, if you’ve never had that conversation with your roomies, you’re the messy one in the house!).
So what to do?! Try talking to them – this might seem the most obvious.
There is a reason you all decided to live together and it’s because you actually get on! So one day when you and said messy one are slobbing on the sofa, just drop into conversation that they should probably take the bin out once or twice. If they’ve cooked; to wash up their pans and just be aware that they’re not living on their own. There are four (or more!) of you in this overpriced and cramped kitchen, so when their spaghetti and sauce falls on your feet, it’s not the one. Once they know what the issue is, they’re most likely to change their habits. No one likes being the most hated in the house.
Everyone would much rather live with a clean kitchen, it might not be this nice though...
2. The “you said what?” situation
So, you’ve been on a night out and someone in the house has either said something about you or to one of the other folk in the house, and it’s not very positive.
We all get a loose tongue once we’ve had a bevvy or two, but that does not allow for badmouthing those you live with. That should be written in law. It’s never going to end well. So if it’s about you, don’t go off ranting about your housemate to other people or other housemates. That’s just going to add fuel to the fire. Be an adult about it, go into their room and address it. What is it you’ve done so wrong? Can you guys work it out for the next nine months? Were they just being a drunk jerk? Again, having the conversation is the best way to resolve this one. Try taking in a cup of tea with you, you can solve anything with a cuppa. We’re British, we should know this.
Same goes for if they’re not being kind about someone else, just chat to them and tell them to apologise before the other housemate hears about it from someone else. It’s best to squash these issues before they blow up the entire house’s dynamics and you’re walking on eggshells when trying to make your 10pm Pot Noodle. Not cool.
3. The cash situation
So this one is a little more serious, but one thing uni should teach is how to handle our money. So if your housemate is constantly giving excuses on why they haven’t coughed up for this month’s bills, but you can see them hitting the SU every Friday night, it’s time to step in.
This conversation is better to be had as a house as a whole. Not to put the person in a vulnerable position, but so that they are aware that their actions are having an impact on the whole house.
The next time they give you some “oh, sorry, I’m really short of money this month, can I pay double next time?” excuse, suggest that all of you sit down and chat about it. Explain to them that them not being able to pay their own bills isn’t setting them up for the real world (bailiffs anyone?). Say next time they won’t be being bailed out and make it clear that going out isn’t that cheap either!
Make it more of a ‘we’ll support you in how to handle your money’, suggest that on the weekend before the bills are due, everyone checks their accounts and if even one of you look like it’s not going to last, suggest the next week you do dinner together twice a week, not only does this save money, but there are always leftovers. On the weekend, have a house party! Get all your mates over, have a crate or two and party the night away. This will save you money, you’re most likely to only drink once at the weekend as you’ll be prepping for your big night and you’ll still get to have a great time with you and your mates. Because at the end of the day, we all need to let our hair down.
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