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The perfect housemate is an urban legend dreamt up by unhappy house-sharers. The best we can hope for is to find someone that knows how to tear cling film correctly and doesnt leave one square of toilet paper on the roll without getting out a new one. Whether youre a student in halls or perhaps moving in with your partner, shared accommodation is not always easy. No matter how well you know your housemate, you could be best friends or you might have had one interview before moving in, there will be plenty of hurdles to jump before things start to run smoothly. Here are a few tips for getting by.
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1. Have your own space
If tensions are high throughout the house or you just don’t think you can bear to watch another episode of Made in Chelsea because your housemate got to the remote first, its important to have a place that is entirely your own. Whether you want to read a book, listen to music or phone a friend to complain about fake reality TV shows, stepping away from the drama can help you gain some perspective and calm down.
2. Find common ground
Even if there are 101 things you don’t like about your housemate, odds are that theres at least one thing you have in common. Try to make the best of a bad situation, especially if the alternative is spending the duration of your contract hiding away and sneaking out to use the kitchen when you’re sure they’re gone.
3. Pull your weight and encourage others to do the same
Take pride in where you live. It doesn’t have to impress Kim and Aggie but keeping a tidy house is always a good rule. If your housemates arent doing their share, say something.
It might be that you all have jobs to go to or classes to attend but if you have a problem find the time to discuss it in person. Leaving notes on the fridge or a message on Facebook can lead to misunderstandings and fallings out.
5. Recognise your own faults
Yes, thats right, you probably have annoying habits too! Next time you get fed up because the cap wasnt tightened on the milk remember that someone else could be sick of you leaving your shoes by the front door. If you open up a dialogue and express your concerns you might be surprised by what you learn about yourself.
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If you are going or have been to university you’ll likely have heard that the best friends you make will be the people you live with in halls. Of course, that is never going to be the case for everyone, particularly if your halls is made up of ten people sharing one kitchen. That said, there are plenty of other places to meet new people so if youre on your last nerve at home have a night out with friends from work or join a local club. Not only will it get you out of the house itll keep you sane and remind you that not all humans are hard to handle.
By Jess Lawrence