Wednesday, 22 June 2016

10 Flatmate commandments for happily ever after

The thing about moving out of your parents home after university and into a big city like London is that you will undoubtedly return to living in a house or flat share. While you thought that long gone are the days of sharing a kitchen and bathroom with people you don't know, a move to London will quickly prove you wrong about this. After a few housing 'mares from my own move down here last September, I thought it would be good to send out a gentle reminder about the etiquette of being a good flatmate. Here are my top flatmate commandments.

Thou shalt clean up after thyself and generally take care of the place
I think this is standard flatmate 101, right? Right?? No? Some people will need to be told this? I see...

Thou shalt not let dirty dishes pile up 
House shares at uni and house shares as a grown, full-time working adult are two completely different things. Back then it wasn't unusual to be met with week old dirty dishes and mess on the kitchen counter every time you ventured into the kitchen. But back then it was 'kinda annoying but whatever, I'll just ask them to clean up' whereas now it's 'Omg is this sh*t still happening, why??' I'll admit that this is, personally, now my biggest pet peeve, and never have I loved a cleaning rota so much as I have now (I know, I can hear my mum manically laughing all the way back in Nottingham).

Thou shalt not be controlling / weird / a dick 
Sending text messages to turn off the lights because it's nearly midnight? Seeing that your clothes in the drier are done while you're not home so deciding to help you out by laying out just your underwear on the kitchen table like some strange exhibition? Deciding to bring the party back home at 3am complete with copious amounts of alcohol and possible drugs? No. Just no. (thankfully, only the first scenario has happened to me while the last two are horror stories from friends).

Thou shalt not be opposed to getting a takeout and watching Made in Chelsea and/or First Dates on a Monday evening because Monday's suck.
Monday's are not fun, I think we can all agree on that. So let's join in on chilling out in front of the TV and trying out the new Thai place that just opened down the road. The only thing we'll have to decide on is whose turn it is to collect the order and pick up some snacks on the way...

Thou shalt respect each others property and privacy 
This includes milk, bread, eggs and general food unless otherwise stated. Prices are high and wages are low, but let's not result to petty left please.

Thou shalt be supportive and listen to thy housemate rant about work deadlines, colleagues and/or general life issues 
You don't even have to really listen. Just let out a 'really', 'seriously?' and maybe even an 'omg no way?!' every now and then and that's good enough for me. In all seriousness though, sometimes it's nice to talk about work or life to someone who isn't heavily involved or influenced in any way. It can help with getting a second opinion or just reassuring you that you are indeed, not crazy.

Thou shalt come back after a date and tell all - the good, the bad, and the oh so ugly.
Did he stare at your boobs the entire time? Was he a bit of an arrogant slime-ball? Or was he completely charming, able to hold interesting conversation and totally on your same wavelength? We want all the details.

Thou shalt not be a ghost but also thou shalt not be a shadow
It's all about having a good balance, you know? There's no requirement to be the best of friends, but the occasional meal together, movie marathon or night out won't hurt. However, sometimes you just gotta stay in your room and cry over the season finale of your favourite TV show, I totally understand.

Thou shalt take responsibility for thyself
I will definitely be the first to admit that being an adult is hard. Or harder than we first thought it would be back when we were sitting for our GCSE Math exams. But 'forgetting' to pay rent, turning the trash can into a real life game of Tetris or generally not taking on any contributions to the household is not the best way to start. It's ok though, we can get through this together.

Thou shalt be supportive of thy roommates promise to themselves to join the gym, a yoga class or a running club.
Even if you've made that same promise 32 times now. You know what they say - 33rd time's a charm.

One major thing that I've realised is that sometimes, being a great person/friend and being a great flatmate can be two very different things. It's not always the case that just because you get on with someone, you can necessarily have a stress free flat share situation. Or vice versa - maybe you and your flatmate are not the best of friends, but there still lies at least mutual respect and understanding on both sides - and what more could you ask for really?

What other housemate commandments would you add to the list?

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