Aileen O'Leary gives her top tips to get along with your housemates (psst...be sound is number one!)
If, like myself, you’re living in either student accommodation or sharing a house, a few of the tips and tricks might apply to you. This week I’m tackling the do’s and don’ts of living with housemates. Check out my top ten right here.
1. Be sound:
Whether you’re living with total strangers or your mates, be sound about it. You’re all here to have a good time, no one wants to be nagged about leaving a cup or two in the sink. Set aside time to sort out the house stuff within the first week ye move in, get the painful conversations over with and cut to the fun part. There’s nothing worse than having a housemate who gives out all the time, so be sound and give people a chance.
2. Be a pushover:
In every house in college, you’ll always have at least one housemate who never cleans up. In that case it’s a game of who can last longer in the sink full of dirty dishes contest. You’re not their mom and if they still don’t get the message just say it straight out, you’re sharing the house after all, you all have to clean up after yourselves. Just remember to say it in a non-bitchy way; try something along the lines of ‘Hey can you help out with the wash up? I’ll wash you dry?’ or vice versa. Because we all know how one wrong conversation can create tension in a confined space.
3. Let loose:
College isn’t all work and no play; if you want to bond with your housemates, throw a house party. Your friends can meet theirs, get a piñata, some fairy lights. The clean up the next morning might be painful but the house that parties together, cleans together.
*Disclaimer: always drink responsibly, and don’t put piñata heads in somebody’s fridge: it freaks them out the next morning. Not that I would know anything about that.
4. Destroy the gaff:
So this is kind of a no-brainer right? As I’ve learnt in the past, some things do need to be spelled out. If you do have prinks or a house party, hide the breakables, and if you have fireworks or sparklers in your house, hide them, because they will set off fire alarms and they’re a bitch to turn off. Trust me. Also don’t let the floors get wet or you might just slide into your kitchen table and break it.
5. Celebrate the little wins:
Your housemate had a golden day in college, you got that essay in a minute before the deadline? That’s great, celebrate the small wins. Whether it’s having a house dinner, cooking is optional take aways are also accepted, heading out or heading to the college bar for a few cheeky pints, make sure you remember to celebrate. College can be stressful, take a breather and celebrate the little wins every now and then.
6. Start fighting:
The golden rule of living with housemates is to never get involved in any house drama or start it. If you’re living in a house of five or more, sometimes housemates fight. Do not get involved in house drama. Be Switzerland and stay neutral, let them figure their shit out in their own time. Choosing sides can cause conflict and between all the assignments, lectures, classes and everything else that comes with college you don’t need the added stress.
7. Support each other:
College, as fabulous as it is, can be lonely for some of us at times. If your housemate is homesick or having a rough day, pop on the kettle make some tea and have a chat with them. It doesn’t have to be dead serious, you could watch the telly together or don’t even talk at all if that works. It’s the small gestures, letting each other know that you’re there.
General rule for housemates and life really, you can’t judge someone on how they choose to live their life. If they choose Jeremy Kyle over college, then you know what? That’s grand, you’re there for your own degree not theirs, they might need a break from college every now and then, and if that requires a day of watching tv in a duvet instead of going to lectures then that’s okay. For some, it’s easier to work from home and download the lecture slides instead of going into a massive lecture every day. But don’t let them slack off every day, if they’re totally avoiding college then maybe they shouldn’t be there, and they need to figure it out.
9. Set Boundaries:
There is nothing more awkward than waking up to go have breakfast and finding a stranger in your kitchen. I’m not saying you having to act like the virgin Mary but if you share a room let the other person know you’re bringing someone home or have a guest staying, at least then they can get out before you get home or you can take the couch or vice versa. Not only can it be awkward but it can lead to some very painful conversations down the line. Also applies if you don’t have a roommate, a heads up is always appreciated.
Make the effort to at least get to know your housemates, invite them out for coffee, food, drinks. Involve them in your house parties, offer to have a house night, go to the cinema, bowling or out even. If they’re not interested at least you tried at the end of the day.