Living at home with your parents is one thing – you’ve learned over the years how to put up with all the shit your family throws at you – but living with friends? Strangers? Girlfriends? Boyfriends? Ex-boyfriends? (Yep, that happened.) It’s a whole other ball game. It can be amazing, it really can, but it can also be a complete disaster.
Only a wall apart – here are some of the things that I’ve learned from living with other people:
1. Some people might look all grown up – they aren’t.
Moving up to university I knew that I wasn’t 100% capable of doing everything myself, that was just a fact and I was okay with that because I was SO ready to be independent. A year later I moved out of halls and I felt like I had my shit together – I was by no means the smartest of those around me, but I had life nailed. I didn’t expect anyone to be as capable as I was, but I thought that those who were 18 years old and older would at least know how to HUMAN. They don’t. You can look like an adult and still have no clue what you’re doing, and that’s okay, as long as you’re trying to figure it out! Don’t judge a potential flatmate by their cover, really dive deep and figure out whether they’re going to drive you nuts or not. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time with the decision – months of what could be total misery rests on it, so don’t rush.
2. Hearing your flatmate having sex is real, and it’s awful.
Living a wall apart…a thin wall apart. It’s the worst. Hearing my flatmates have sex is an experience I would like to erase from my mind. It’s happened to me more times than I care to mention, and it’s hard to explain quite how it makes you feel. Okay yes, have sex! Sex is great. But do I like being woken up in the middle of the night by the moans and groans of someone who is like a sibling to me? Good god, no. The only advice I can give anyone in this situation is to invest in a good pair of earplugs and/or hope that you live with someone considerate enough to take advantage of your ‘out of the house’ time where possible. Good luck, because it’s pretty much unavoidable. This is just a heads up.
3. Be honest.
There’s nothing worse than letting the little things lie. Little things very quickly mount up and turn into big things. Big, bad, things. If you’re annoyed at your flatmate, if they’ve done something to piss you off, not pulled their weight or are just generally causing problems – talk to them! Don’t be afraid of possibly starting a bigger argument because trust me, the longer you ignore a problem the more inevitable a bigger argument will be anyway. Save both of you some time, and yourself the long term misery, and deal with issues as soon as they arise. This is probably one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from sharing a flat.
4. Get your shit together.
So far this article has listed problems that you might encounter when sharing a flat – however, there is a very big chance that you yourself could become a problem. Be aware that moving in with someone presents all kinds of challenges, and it’s highly likely that you will cause as many issues as they do. No one is perfect. Think about your behavior from time to time, maybe there are ways that you could be being more considerate? Maybe you’ve already been asked to be more considerate… once? Twice? Getting your shit together and being respectful is the first step towards creating a harmonious flat sharing environment. Don’t be a dick, wash those dishes before they give up asking and do it themselves. 99% sure you didn’t move in with your own personal cleaner… If you get your shit together it’s very likely that they’ll return the favor, win-win!
5. The best flatmate can be the most unexpected.
I’ve lived with four very different people since moving out of my family home and none of those four living situations have been perfect – some so unbelievably far from perfect that I’m extremely happy to find myself still sane. You’ll learn so much from living with others, and sometimes you’ll stumble across your ideal situation quite unexpectedly. Sometimes, that situation is in itself quite unexpected. I love people and I can’t get enough of quality face to face time, but what I’ve learned from living with others is that I cannot wait to live alone. I wish that wasn’t the case, but living with other people has made me realize exactly what I need in a flat or home, and my standards are definitely higher than average. I’ve had some amazing times with all my flatmates, and I wouldn’t give the experiences up for the world, but if I live with someone else again, it will be the result of a much longer conversation. At the moment, unexpectedly, the best flatmate for me is myself, and I’m so good with that.