How to deal with common flatmate problems

One of the hardest and most stressful parts of living at university is often not the studying and workload, but is, in fact, living with new people away from home, and dealing with all the problems that come with it. Common problems that can arise include issues around cleaning and chores, but also noise complaints and different sleep/life schedules.

Here are some tips to try and help you solve some of these issues:

Don’t retaliate. Although it is so tempting to dump your flatmates washing on the floor when they leave it in the machine for days or allow your own washing up to build up to show them how annoying it is. In the long run, this is not the best solution. Retaliation just gives more of a reason for them to continue and react back. Instead, try to ensure you keep doing your own jobs so that they have no reason to argue back with you.

Create a rota. The best way to solve any arguments about chores such as cleaning is to create a rota at the start of the year. This means everyone knows what their jobs are and stops everything being left to the first person to break when it gets too much. Simply split up the tasks for the week and make sure that everyone agrees to the plan.

Don’t allow the issue to fester. The best thing to do when dealing with problematic flatmates is to deal with the issue early on. Don’t allow problems to become habits, as this makes it far harder to then solve. Simply acknowledging early on that something is a problem and dealing with it can allow the flat to avoid too much tension and stay friends throughout the year.

Speak in person, not via text/passive aggressive notes. Always try and solve problems in person, as messages can be misconstrued, escalating the problem. Similarly, leaving passive aggressive notes around the flat will just annoy your flatmate more, and comes across as rude and disrespectful. Speak openly, and try to create an atmosphere whereby you can all be honest with each other.

Set some ground rules. Without being too dictatorial, it is important to set a few ground rules early on, for example with regard to late night parties and noise. Establishing some rules early on can mean that you all know where you stand with each other’s expectations. This can avoid any arguments at 1 am when your flatmate has a party that you weren’t expecting!

Talk to other friends. If you speak to other people outside of your flat, you will quickly realise that no one has a perfect flat. This can help in two ways; by giving you more advice on dealing with it and an escape from the problems you are facing, and also realising that you aren’t alone and it is not unreasonable to have issues with people when you live with them.

Understand that not everything is solvable. Finally, it is really important to realise that not everyone is going to get along, and not everyone’s schedules will line up. Not all people will get on in a flat environment, and not everyone will agree on things. You will have to deal with differing opinions and lives, and hopefully, these tips will help this happen with more ease.

Hopefully, this gives you some help, and remember that even if you can’t solve all the problems, if you have friends outside of the flat they can provide an easy escape from any dramas. Also, most flat leases are only for a year, so it won’t last forever. However, these tips may help smooth the process out and ensure all the flat can get on as best as possible. Living with friends can bring some of the best memories and moments of university, ideally, these tips will help this happen!

 

Image: Indirect Images via Flickr

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