Ryan McDonnell interviews a group of Maynooth students on the do's and don't's of having housemates.

‘Last year I had a roommate that found a key in the house, opened my bedroom door and let someone else sleep in my bed.’

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you don’t know somebody until you live with them.’ Now that semester 2 is well under way, why not practice some good habits with your housemates? If arguments over who left dishes in the sink for a week, still haven’t returned that top they borrowed 3 Workman’s ago, or who doesn’t know how to flush the toilet are reaching a boiling point, then this interview with a group of Maynooth roommates will help keep the peace with your college roomie…

1. Bonding

If you’ve had nothing but arguments with your roommates and haven’t gotten to know them, pre-drinks is a great way to break the ice; "there’s no awkwardness because there’s alcohol involved!"

If you’re not the drinking type, then a movie night with a Chinese is good too. "Pretty much what we’re doing tonight."

"Last year I found that with my other housemates they barely talked to X and Y, however I’d always catch them cooking when I was about to start cooking and I’d be like 'Hey!'. You start small, start chatting and before you know it, you’re chatting more with them when you run into in the kitchen."

If worse comes to worst and these activities don’t work, "What better way is there to bond with people you don’t know over a cup of and some bourbon biscuits."

"Sure it put’s the talk into tea!"

2. Respect Each Other’s Boundaries

If you’re letting yourself into someone’s room before knocking or using your roommates' milk without asking then you’ve just bought yourself a one way ticket to Scraps-ville.

"Last year, I had a roommate that found a key in the house, opened my bedroom door and let someone else sleep in my bed. I wasn’t even best friends with this person and he let someone else sleep in my bed. So this didn’t help my friendship with this person."

As for storage boundaries, these roommates found the best way to separate everyone’s food is everyone gets a shelf in the fridge:; "if there isn’t enough shelves in the fridge you can't have your own shelf. If there’s 6 people in a house and only 4 shelves, do the maths. You’re gonna have to share"

Don’t forget to throw out food that’s going off, you are sharing a fridge with everyone after all. "Last year one of my roommates left a cucumber in the fridge and it was gone off for 2 months and it stank!"

3. Guests

You want to have a pre-drinks tonight and your roommate has a test worth 50% in the morning, what do you do? What if you’re sharing a room with someone in a dorm and you’ve scored on a night out? To top it all off, you wake up to your roommate getting a fright from the stranger (who is your bestfriend) sleeping on the couch that you haven’t mentioned is staying over and now you’re in the bad books with them.

"I had a roommate in first year that didn’t come out much but we’d still throw him an invite. As long as you let your roommates know you’re having people over and you give them the invite that they can come out and not hide in their room that can make the situation better. If they had an exam I’d say that’s absolutely fine, we’d pre-drink somewhere else."

"On the whole having people over, if your friend is coming up from back home, and he’s staying over make sure you tell your housemates. There’s nothing worse than walking into the sitting room the next day and seeing some random dude passed out on the couch."

"Last year I shared a room with someone and I sent them a text to let them know before I got home that I was bringing someone home and he just walked in, he obviously hadn’t read the message. There were no lights on so I was like ‘em, X… there's someone here. Then he went “Oh!” and left, then came back 3 more times to get pillows, a blanket for himself and blankets for other people who were staying over. So we came up the idea of the sock on the door as a precaution."

4. Borrowing Stuff

From hoodies to Hobnobs, always ask unless you’re really close. "Items that are specifically your roommates like toiletries, hair straightners and all that kind of stuff are inherently theirs. You don’t touch that unless you have expressed permission and you treat that as a godly item above yours. You look after that as if it’s a newborn baby. As for borrowing food, last year I took a stale biscuit from X’s cupboard and I was honest to her about it. I said 'How's this for karma, I took a bourbon from your press to satisfy a chocolate craving and it turned out to be stale.' She f**king lost it at me."

‘"f you do borrow something from one of your housemates and it’s something small like a mug, say sorry or try replace or even buy them a shot when you’re out with them and they’ll be like 'sound!' "

5. Cleanliness is Godliness

"If everyone cleans up after themselves there’s gonna be no problem."

"We tried to assign cleaning jobs last year and it just all fell apart. One of our roommates had the job of taking out the bins and it kept building up so we threw the bag outs the back until he eventually did it."

"I don’t feel that works, I think people should have the cop at this age when you’re like 20 to think 'Ok so X has cleaned the kitchen the past week, I’ll do it now.'"

Don’t let yourself become the weak one in a cleaning pattern. Make sure to take turns otherwise your housemates will leave that job to you if they keep seeing you do it. "In first year I was the only one who stayed in my apartment on the weekends and my roommates never did the bins and if I didn’t take them out they’d stay there over the weekend. There was one weekend where I went home and the bins bags were left there and when I came back they got mad at me I was like why are you getting mad at me it’s not my job."

6. If There’s an Argument Brewing, Just Have It

Don’t let that time you broke your house mate’s mug or that time you used their milk turn into an episode of Jerry Springer. "Don’t just go to bed angry if there’s an argument brewing because if you go to bed angry it’ll just bottle up and you end up really lashing out if an argument gets personal. If you’re gonna have a fight have or something, have a fight over something."

"We saw so many of those last year. If you have a problem with someone, nip it in the bud, don’t let it become a big thing. I wouldn’t say have a full on fight with punching and kicking, use your words. If you want to make up, buy them chocolate."

At the end of the day it’s gonna be tough living with a stranger who may have different habbits to you. Using these tips from these Maynooth students will help you keep the peace with your roomie and make it that bit easier to live together and if your roomie is still tough to live with by the end of the semester, at least you won’t be the bad roomie.