Flatmate Bonding: The Dos and Don'ts

Regrettably, we have all been there: annoyed your flatmates, or over-egged it by sucking up to them to the point of no-return. So, we thought we would put a do’s and don’ts list together to help you on your way to bonding with your flatmates. 

 

1.      Do keep clean

Keep clean in all senses: your room, the kitchen, the bathroom, your sexual health. It’s the best way to make friends with your flatmates, as well as learning how to be a responsible adult. It’s easier than it sounds, just don’t expect others to clean up after you the way your parents or carers may have. Some people are born with that ‘clean’ instinct, others aren’t. But trying your best, and making an effort to wash your dishes after eating, and doing your bit to keep communal areas clean will keep your flatmates off your back. If need be, make a schedule for the house chores, but from personal experience: this does not go down well, and results in more hassle than it’s worth.

 2.      Do keep tidy

Let’s set the record straight: clean and tidy are two very different things. I like to think of myself as clean, I take one if not two showers a day, and do my washing up, but boy, am I messy. My floor is practically my wardrobe; my bed is never made; and my desk ressembles the messy inner depths of mind, rather than the neat, organised desk of my flatmate. Your space is your space, but the lounge/dining room and the kitchen are communal: never forget. While it’s perfectly fine to leave your blanket on the sofa, or line your shoes up in the hallway, it’s not okay to leave your washing on the clothes maiden for more than 2 days, nor your laptop charger and pens sprawled all over the kitchen table.

 

3.      Do be considerate

What you do at university is your choice, but always remember to be considerate. Whether you’ve invited someone back after a night out, want to invite friends over for a gathering or just want to sit in front of the TV all day, just remember you’re sharing the flat with, normally Lancaster-wise, four or more other people. If you’d ask your parents’ permission, then maybe check if it’s okay with your flatmates first too. Also, be considerate about how long you spend in the bathroom, especially in the mornings. 

 

4.      Do be respectful

At university, you suddenly realise how varied people’s lives are. We all come together as students of a university, but come from different backgrounds both family-wise, social and economic, and we all have different faiths and beliefs, and just simply different ways of doing things. It’s an important thing to remember when meeting new people. Always be respectful, and it’ll get you along way – particularly with your flatmates.

 

5.      Do make an effort

Despite the fact you don’t want to be known as the house suck-up, do make an effort. Take care of your flatmates like they’re family, just be wary of not mothering them. Try to comfort them when needed, and be honest whenever necessary. Help them through dramas, as long as you don’t get dragged into it – especially house dramas. If the spat doesn’t already involve you, just shrug and wait in your bedroom ‘til the storm has passed. It is super cute if you bake for your flatmates; or if you suggest ordering in pizza; or if you surprise them and make them dinner. Making an effort with the people you live with is a sure-fire way to make real friends for life.

 

6.      Don’t suck up

Baking treats the first time you meet your flatmates is blooming lovely, and the occasional home-baked cakes, but you’re at university, and darling, you’re a student. Don’t buy rounds of drinks every time you go out as a house, and don’t feel the need to wash up after everyone else. No one likes a suck up, or someone who tries too hard. It’s best to be yourself and have the occasional passive-aggressive spat over on the group chat than to win people over with material things or doing too much in the house. Pay your way, do your bit and be yourself; if that’s not enough for them, it’s not worth your time.

 

7.      Don’t overshare from the beginning

You can’t trust everyone. Plus, nobody wants someone’s baggage dropped on them from day one. It’s better to stay neutral and keep your horror stories to yourself. Of course, do share things with them, but never share your entire mental health history, family issues or boy/girl drama. Unfortunately, you never know what can be brought up four months later during a spat.

 

8.      Don’t avoid them

It’s one thing to enjoy spending time out of the house and with other friends, but it’s another to be completely absent. Try to spend time in the house bonding with your flatmates too. You probably expected, or want, to make firm friends with your housemates - it’s true, you could become friends for life – and the only way to do this is to actually spend quality time with them. Try not to spend too much time in your room. Use the library to study in, coffee shops for catch-ups, your room for sleeping, the kitchen for cooking, and the lounge/dining room for TV and eating. And whatever you do, don’t avoid them. It’s better to be honest and say you need a bit of space, or use the “I’m tired” or “I’ve got a lot of work to do” excuse to escape, but avoiding them will never work in your favour.

9.      Don’t risk it

Just don’t risk anything when it comes to communal living. Double-check you locked the door; double-check you switched the oven off; and double-check that you actually did do your washing up. If not, you could risk rubbing your flatmates up the wrong way, and nobody wants that. Always better to be on the safe side. Safety first, always.

 

10.  Don’t not enjoy yourself

Seems like an obvious one, but people do forget. Enjoy every moment with your flatmates. Enjoy the annual events by making the most of Halloween, Christmas and Easter; cook together; and go on nights out together. The year will be over before you know it, so make the most of it. 

 

The list is endless. You can go above and beyond for your flatmates, but remember to stay reasonable and put yourself first. By making friends with your flatmates, or at least getting along with them, you’re more likely to enjoy university more and come away from it with friends as well as communal living experience.