Cope With Living/Staying With People

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Having experienced the highs and lows of living with people at university, I thought I’d share my personal tips on how to cope in difficult situations where you are in close confines with people you wouldn’t necessarily live with long-term out of choice. The same tips can also apply to having people stay at your home.

1. Be firm and lay down ground rules before your new guests/housemates even arrive. If you’re living together as housemates then obviously you can’t lay down rules as if it’s your house, but you can start the process with the conversation, ‘guys, please can we try to stick to the cleaning rota etcetc’. Allocate certain duties to people certain days/weeks and make sure all of that is clear from the get-go. Taking turns to buy communal items, for example. That way you all know what’s what and it saves having an awkward conversation/argument later because of failed communication.

2. Always communicate. Sometimes it is necessary to bite our tongues and choose which argument we feel is worth having, however it is important to remember that people aren’t mind readers and if something is winding you up then say it. Not everybody thinks like you (believe or not) and so try to say, in a calm, fair manner, what is making you unhappy. Too often, we let problems fester and then it will all come out in a fit of rage when we’re at the end of our tether and that definitely isn’t going to help things.

 3. If there is someone you happen to end up living with that you really, really can’t stand and makes you miserable try all of the above, including talking things through, and then just try to stay out of their way. Realise that this situation isn’t forever, and that you don’t need to invest your feelings into the relationship and stop trying to make them do things they just won’t. If you’ve asked them nicely week-in-week-out to pull their weight and do something small like the bins, but they won’t, just accept that and move on.

4. Make your own bedroom a lovely place to be, somewhere that you can retreat to when you feel your anger getting the better of you. On this note, if your housemates are using up all of your things or the toilet roll that you keep buying, for example, then although it may seem ridiculous and like you shouldn’t have to, keep your own toilet roll in your bedroom.

5. In terms of living with people and paying bills, this can be a total nightmare – trust me, I know. The best way to handle this is to set up a joint bank account and make sure every person in the house has the responsibility of nagging one another to ensure the money goes into the account on time. For a while, the bills were coming solely out of my account and my housemates would pay into my account, however it ended up being just me nagging one of the housemates and our relationship temporarily turned very sour because of this. It’s not fair to put all the responsibility of money – a touchy subject – on one person. Share the burden.

6. Don’t take it to heart. So the situation hasn’t turned out how you would like it and you feel disheartened – try not to. Let the little things go, okay so the kitchen is a mess again and you would never leave it in such a state, that’s because you are you and you have been brought up differently. Once you learn to accept that and just chill out about it – realising the house won’t always look as perfect and clean (if you’re a clean-freak like me) as you want – then you can actually start to enjoy yourself. Accepting other people’s traits and flaws is going to make yourself feel so much better about things – don’t fight against them, just go with the flow.

7. If all else fails, remove every one of your possessions from the shared spaces and keep a pile in your bedroom.