5 Tips to Get Along With Your Flatmates

University accommodation is a great way to experience independence without having to live alone, but moving in with strangers is a daunting task for anyone. However many people you’re living with, you want to avoid becoming ‘That One Flatmate’; the one who has a reputation as an outlaw within the delicate equilibrium of the shared space; the one whose unlucky cohabiters will be telling horror stories about for the remainder of their degree. Regardless of who you’re living with, here are some universal rules to help make your relationship with your flatmates as smooth as possible.

By Harry Bunting – 3rd Year English at University of Exeter


Don’t eat their food

The temptation to take a deep dive into your flatmate’s shelf in the fridge is a constant presence, particularly when theirs is a buffet of assorted treats and yours looks like the back of an Asda where an old leek that fell out of a delivery truck lies wilting. But if you haven’t asked permission, don’t do it. It’s a slippery slope. “They won’t notice a dollop of ketchup missing,” you say to yourself, but before long you’re stumbling in from a night out and eating a whole block of their Cathedral City cheddar.

Give them space

Living with people can be fun but it can also be very intense. If one of your flatmates isn’t as outgoing as some of the others, don’t bang on their door every time you’re going out and tell them you’ll throw their mattress out of the window if they don’t come and have a shot. Invite them, but respect their wishes if they want to stay in.

Do your washing up

Washing up is dreadful. Grappling with slimy remnants of tomato and congealed mayonnaise in a sink is the least appealing prospect after a long boring day, but sometimes sacrifices must be made. If you put it off, it will only build until you’re eating out of your shoes and the pile of kitchenware is acting as a load-bearing wall. Your flatmates will eventually snap when a new strain of fungus starts growing on your dinner plate and you’ll have to spend six hours shamefully scrubbing away.


If you start noticing some of these traits in one of the people you’re living with, it may be a sign that they are becoming ‘That One Flatmate’. However, it’s better to talk to them about their habits rather than let your gripes fester. If they have a party every night that lasts until 4am, discuss it with them instead of planting Home Alone-style traps in their room. Lack of communication will only lead to resentment, and before you know it they’ll be eating all your Cathedral City.

Keep some things private

Doing things together as a flat is a great way to bond, but if your idea of fun is clipping your toenails whilst blasting out obscure death metal then maybe don’t do that in the kitchen.

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