How to deal with…unpleasant housemates
Living with other people is difficult whether you’re sharing with close friends, acquaintances or complete strangers. Every situation is different and so each case needs to be approached individually. Most of it comes down to cleanliness, noise levels, arguments and just utter rudeness (i.e. consuming someone else’s food and denying it). Unfortunately, I have been subjected to all three, so here are some tips:
1) Cleanliness: For unsanitary housemates, combat them face-to-face. Leaving notes and memos does not work for most. What does work is hitting the problem in the face (not literally, but you catch my drift), confronting the situation and not letting resentful feelings boil over. You might think this is easier said than done, as a lot of people don’t like the idea of confrontation. Build up your confidence and get your voice heard, practice makes perfect. One of my most recent encounters have been people being too clean (yes, TOO clean!) and their aims to establish a militant regime whereby every single dish is cleaned after use, the kitchen aired (during and after cooking), and the counter tops bleached.. The term OCD would be exaggerating, however excessiveness is not. Imagine living with Kim Woodburn, waking up at 9am to hovering (twice a day may I add), and the smell of bleach burning your nostrils as you head up to the bathroom which is swimming with soap and water. What got me the most was that this person acted as if there rest of us were filthy slobs or, in other words, completely unsanitary! Very insulting. Even more so that this person wanted us to convert to his clinical protocol. So my advice is, do respect other people’s habits (and blame their mothers for it) but don’t let it damage your belief in your cleanliness or your ‘cleaning pace’.
2) Noise: This is a difficult one for various reasons. The first which comes to mind are the moans and groans coming from your housemates’ room. They’re really going at it. Obviously it’s not the best of times to knock on the door and interrupt. You try everything to blur out the noise: blast music, the tv, xbox, you name it, but the grotesque sounds won’t go away. The worst is when you’re tucked up in bed due in for an early start the next day. Hold you’re cool and talk to them the next day. If they say they can’t remember because they were drunk, that’s fair enough, hopefully they’ll learn next time. If they act in defence i.e. ‘the right to orgasim in their own house’ (yes, I have heard that excuse), and you can’t get through to them, well they aren’t really that considerate about others are they? This is also applicable to noise junkies i.e. loud music listeners or people coming in drunk and disturbing the house. If it continues, try and anticipate it and make plans to go out for that evening, go to your uni library to do your work instead of your bedroom, or alternatively, visit a friend.
3) Rudeness: This also comes in very different forms. From my experience, it is ‘borrowing’ without your permission, which is essentially stealing. This is usually when sharing with strangers or people you don’t know that well, and it appears to be considerably common within student accommodation. What is really aggravating is that you’ve invested in a food shop, a large chunk of your loan per week, and someone feels they’re entitled to a share. From dairy products to alcohol, teabags to condiments, the list goes on. If it’s a close friend, it can be easily solved by explaining that you’re struggling with a low budget and hopefully they’ll understand. Yet when it’s someone you don’t know and whom you rarely come into contact with, the situation is rather tense. If this is familiar, or you are afraid this might happen to you, keep some special (and pricey) food items in your room. It’s not the nicest thing to have to do, but it will save you some money in the long term and your roommate will hopefully get the idea.
Well, those are my three ways of combating the common housemate problems while at university. Equally, if you recognise these traits in yourself, get a grip, respect your roommates and work together to make your student accommodation a great place to live during these tough years!