Flatmate Lifestyle Sharing

Keeping the zen in your roommate relationship

If you really want to test a friendship, travel together. If you want to take the friendship to the absolute limit, move in together. We are our true-selves when we are at home, but our true-selves are not as appealing to others as we might think.

The difficulty is knowing whether your attitude is objectively correct. Is it cool that I use your margarine? Having multiple margarines in the fridge would be ridiculous? But if we share, then who replaces the margarine – is it cool if I replace it with ghee? What the hell is ghee anyway?

The relationship is laden with several ‘House of Cards’ style political quandaries and if you are not careful you may make a mortal enemy out of the guy who ate your leftover pad thai.

Here are some tips:

Living with friends – the devil you know

I get it. Pub crawls with them is fun. Hanging out with them is fun. That European bus tour during which things happened – certain things that you both have sworn you will never repeat to anyone else – that was legendary. So, how could moving in with your bud-bud not be the best idea since sliced bread – or at least since the Earl of Sandwich invented the best use for sliced bread (although naming an invention after yourself – self absorbed much?).

However, we all must accept that there are things about your friends that you dont know. These things may end up annoying you more than an overly handsome barista flirting with your lady-friend: not cool dude.

So if you decide to move in together, just know that there is a risk your relationship will deteriorate. But this is ultimately a matter for you, and refusing to move in with a mate for this reason is like not getting married because you might get divorced (except you get to keep most of your stuff when your friend moves out).

Moving in with strangers – the devil you don’t

If your looking at share housing, going public can bring its own risks, but one of which is not losing a friend.

People differ. Your new flatmate could be a student who keeps to themselves and studies most hours of the day (say, a med student), or they could be a student that seems to get by with no study and gets annoyingly hammered every night of the week (perhaps a business student). Whatever their lifestyle, it may be similar to or completely at odds with yours. The only thing that you can do is:

  1. think long and hard about the persons lifestyle, job, and social interests to the extent you can glean this when you meet with them. Be honest with yourself whether there are any obvious clashes (like working on opposing shifts, or that they want to move a drum kit into their bedroom).
  2. if you think this person may be ideal, try to forecast some ground rules that you will want to establish and raise them before you come to an agreement.

Some points for younger players


Make a plan for how the bills are going to be paid, and whether anyone should take responsibility. For bills that will vary according to use such as the electricity you may want to consider whether there you will simply split it equally, or whether there should be apportionment based on the number of appliances, who spends the most time at home, who has visitors, etc. It is worth noting that the more that you leave it to sorting out each time a bill turns up,  the more room there is for dispute. So if possible, split equally. This will be easier with flat rate bills, which is usually the case with internet / wifi for example.

Fridge space and foods

Are you going to chip in for communal household items, or is everyone going to get their own BBQ sauce? Are you going to split the shelving or are you just going to put everything in all higgledy piggledy. Room in the fridge here is a consideration, unless you have several fridges, but that would be weird.

Partners and friends

When you cant keep your minds or hands off your new fling, it is reasonable that you will want to have them over at the house – otherwise what was the point of moving out of your conservatively religious parentshouse? But if you are having someone around multiple times a week, consider it from your roommates perspective; he or she signed up for one new house mate, not two. This will have to be worked out on the facts of each case, but its fair to say that if you are having someone around most nights of the week without contributing any additional rent or expense money, youre probably in the wrong.

House parties

Hopefully you are on good terms with your roomie, and so these will be thrown jointly. If they are not, make sure you get the go aheadfrom your roomie in advance. Fly the important details past them like the number of people, whos crashing the night, when they will be out of the house, and whether you will have chicken or cheese twisties on offer (#chickentwisties4life).

Chores and cleanliness

What you do in your own room is a matter for you, but outside there is a kitchen and a living room to be maintained and rules here are a must. For instance how long can plates rest in the sink? Or if things deteriorate, how many different breeds of cockroach can we stand before we washeverything.  

The conflict resolution clause

It pays to have a diplomatic way to raise and resolve issues. Remember that most people feel right and righteous in any household issue and have great difficulty conceding that the way they live their home life is somehow offensive. Be kind, clear, and leave feelings out of it to the extent you can. Remember you will still probably have to live with this person.

How do you keep the zen in your flat? Let us know! We would love to share your story! 🙂

(Header image: theknowledgeplymouth.co.uk)

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