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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Vic chapter.

You’ve spent the last few months hanging out with your newfound uni friends late into the night, watching movies that all of you rapture over, painting your nails together and having face mask parties. You even have the same taste in wine. It’s only natural to want to actually live together, so you begin to search for a house to rent.

You secure a place and the excitement and happiness of moving in fuels your friendships even more. But a few weeks pass and there are gradual, but what feel like drastic, changes. By some cosmic will, they always get back home when you’re about to sleep and then blast music while making dinner. It falls on you to take the trash and compost out every week. They don’t recycle. They seem to forget about their dishes after they’re done cooking and eating. Nobody apart from you refills toilet paper in the bathroom. 

Being home begins to feel draining. You either want them to leave or you want out yourself. But now you’re bound by a lease. You could walk away and sublet your room to protect yourself from outright breaking the lease. But finding a subletter in the middle of the semester is not easy. Finding a new place is not easy either and could force you to make sacrifices on transit time and rent. Before throwing in the towel, there are a few ways to try resolving a bad housemate situation. 

Speak up

Confrontation can be daunting, but it’s necessary to nip the issue in the bud before you bottle up multiple resentments until you explode, which is bound to happen to even the most peaceful people. 

A simple, “Hey, I’ve been the one taking the trash and compost out the last few weeks but I feel that we should be taking turns to do so,” might just be what your housemates need to rouse themselves. It’s best to talk in person, keeping your tone calm and respectful. If the talk escalates towards an argument , walk away to cool off if needed — but don’t let the problem get buried.

Create a list of chores

Being close friends and being housemates, while not mutually exclusive, are pretty different relationships. Don’t rely on friendship to ensure the smooth running of the house. Decide on a schedule for vacuuming the common spaces, wiping the counters and surfaces, cleaning the bathroom and rotate the tasks between everyone. Print out the schedules of trash and recycling pickup and put it up in a common space, with each person designated a turn to do the chore. 

Set ground rules

Deciding to have separate groceries, particular kitchen shelves and fridge corners, common pots and pans or individual ones are all examples of ground rules that everybody should agree on. It’s respectful and allows people the very independence that they want when they decide to leave their family’s house. While putting everything on paper and signing it could be a tad extreme (think Sheldon Cooper’s Roommate Agreement), it can be helpful to put the basics in writing so that everyone is on the same page.  

Set boundaries and stick to them

If you have an early class and need to be in bed by a certain time, you shouldn’t let your housemate sway you into letting them have a mini-concert in the living room. If one of your ground rules is to keep the sink clear of dirty dishes with a maximum of two days’ grace period, it’s not cool if somebody keeps excusing themselves by saying they have assignments and leaving you to do their dishes with yours just to have a clean kitchen. If you’re usually a very accommodating person, there are chances of you being taken advantage of and it may leave you feeling hurt, angry and exhausted. 

If all of this does not change anything, it’s time to leave (or ask them to). No friendship is worth sabotaging your mental health (and, consequently, your academic and/or work performance). If they’re true friends, they’ll realize that people are sometimes suited to be friends but not live together, as you probably have understood yourself. 



Kruti Wani

U Vic '22

Computer Sci major doing writing and photography on the side