Am I a great flatmate?
No matter whether there are four of you in your shared student accommodation or ten of you, there is still the chance you might not get on with all of your flatmates and this can cause problems. You’re no longer living with your family or in a house where the rules are the same for everyone. When you move into student housing, even if you get on with your flatmates, you’re still technically living on your own. You will all come and go, you will all eat at different times and this can be tricky when you are living in and sharing a communal area. This means you need to think about how to live with other people because a thoughtless flatmate can lead to disagreements and potentially arguments. If you don’t want to be that person, have a look at some tips I have come up with on how to be a great flatmate.
Tip number one: Be considerate
This is the most important tip I will give for living in student accommodation. Being considerate is the most important part of living in happy student halls, for example, if you go out at night and roll in at 3am, don’t come in and slam every possible door and start shouting because your flatmates are likely to be sleeping. Always think about the consequences of what you are doing within your flat, when you come, go and when you are in the flat. The best piece of advice is to consider how you live because it affects everybody who lives with you.
Tip number two: Clear up as you go along
Mess within student housing is usually the reason most of the arguments happen. The simplest tip is to clean up after yourself. Whilst you are cooking, if you have finished using something, just wash it up. Leaving pots in the sink for someone else to do it for you does not work as the pots will just pile up because people will ignore them. If someone is not carrying their weight when cleaning then why not suggest a rota. This way everyone in the flat has a role, e.g. one week someone hoovers, someone else cleans the worktops in the kitchens etc.
Tip number three: Think of the communal areas, not just your room
You don’t have to think about just your bedroom! Yes, that is important for you, but if you do have a communal area make sure you think about that too! Don’t just leave your things lying around these areas because they won’t clean up themselves and it will also mean your flatmates get fed because they have to keep working while trying to avoid all of the mess.
Tip number four: Speak face to face
I know I have already mentioned this in a previous blog post, but this is extremely important! I wouldn’t suggest writing silly notes telling your flatmates how you feel about certain situations because it makes you look immature and it is a little bit patronising. Just have a quiet word with them, for example: “the last three times the rubbish was put out, I did it. Is there any chance you could do it next time? Thank you” – will work better than writing a note and putting a smiley face at the end. Also, if you are going to eat your flatmates food, don’t just assume you can take it, make sure you ask them if it’s okay first.
Tip number five: Try not to be the parent
I know I earlier mentioned creating a rota, but don’t take it upon yourself to just draw one up. Ask your flatmates what they think of the idea of creating a rota. Otherwise, you will look like you are trying to be the parent of the flat and that is not what you want. Talking will make you all equals, so don’t take control.
So those are my tips which I hope you find helpful, living together is like a marriage, you have to work at it together and sometimes make some compromises along the way!
Posted on 11th March 2014 by Jessica H.
Jessica H. is a 1st year Journalism undergraduate staying at one of Liberty Living’s 5 student residences in London. She has been writing a variety of blogs about being a student and living in student accommodation.