How to keep your balance while living in a flatshare
From millennials to thirty-something professionals, a lot of people are finding themselves in a flatshare situation. Some days, sharing a flat or house feels like an episode of Friends–and other days, it’s more like Peep Show.
Keeping your balance in a hectic household is difficult, and the added stress of sharing everything definitely doesn’t make it any easier. However, it is possible to survive and even thrive in a house-sharing situation. How? Read on to find out.
Talk about boundaries, and talk often
Whether you’ve recently moved into a flatshare or you’ve been renting your room for months, discussing your expectations for your fellow renters is beneficial. For instance, would you feel comfortable if your flatmate shares their bed with a stranger every night? What about a housemate that habitually does their laundry at 10pm?
The answers to those questions may change over time, so if you start to feel uncomfortable, bring up “the boundaries talk” in a polite manner.
Find sanctuary in your room
Your bedroom is the only place that’s “yours” in a sharing situation, so be sure to keep it clean, accessible and cosy. While you don’t want to be a hermit, there’s no shame in staying in for the night, curled up with a Chinese take-away and binge-watching Netflix.
Even though you live with other people, not every night has to be a big to-do; use time in your room to rest and recharge your batteries.
Don’t isolate yourself
As tempting as it can be to hole up in your room and avoid your flatmates, that tactic eventually limits you from friendships and socialisation.
Remember that you’re paying for the same amount of space (normally) as your flatmates are; you’re allowed to cook meals and spend time in the living room. Friendly banter can go a long way, and the more time that you spend around your flatmates, the more comfortable your house will feel.
Create a general routine
It can be easy to fall into a routine of “I’ll do it later,” but this can aggravate already-tense relationships. Do your dishes, keep the bathroom clean, buy toilet paper–these little assurances can keep roommate relationships from bubbling over.
Talk about rent, but don’t talk about money
There are certain financial things that you need to discuss openly–the bills, the rent, the council tax–but your salary shouldn’t be one of them.
If you’re making a great deal more than your rental buddies, or vice versa, that can create unnecessary tension and resentment in the household. Keep discussions about money on the practical end of things, and don’t loan anyone money–it never ends well.
Say your piece to keep the peace
If you’re upset with someone or something, talk about it in a polite, adult manner (read: not in a passive-aggressive text to the house’s group chat). Explaining what the perceived problem is without taking an accusatory tone helps create an honest dialogue that your housemates are more likely to react positively to. After all, nobody likes being called out for their mistakes, so…
… Keep your perspective (and a sense of humour)
Remember that everyone has off days, and someone forgetting to take the trash out probably isn’t the end of the world. Your current environment won’t always be there, and one day you can move out–but until then…
There are certain situations that you’ll only get to enjoy while you’re sharing a home with other people. Whether that’s splitting the cost of a meal delivery or helping your flatmate impulsively dye their hair, sharing a living space provides you with plenty of unique opportunities.