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Flatmates: Ultimate Survival Guide

Flatmates: Ultimate Survival Guide

You’ve moved in with complete strangers and now you have to live with them for an entire year. Here’s how to cope (without having a breakdown!)

Nightmare housemates are a student rite of passage. University wouldn’t be university without being able to sit in the Students’ Union and wax lyrical about how your flatmate is driving you crazy: from not washing up to staying holed up in their room, we have all been there. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Cosmo Columnist Tiffany Wright (who has had her fair share of nightmare-inducing flatmates) offers her advice on how to have the conversations you don’t want to have, with the people living under your roof.

ONE // The dilemma: When you first moved in you all lived in harmony. Three weeks later, you are at each other’s throats – from stressing over whose turn it is to wash up to hammering on each other’s bedroom doors whilst screaming; “turn your music down, I’ve got a hangover!” In short, you feel a HUGE confrontation brewing.

What you want to say: “When I signed this tenancy agreement, I didn’t realise I would be living under a roof with characters from the Inbetweeners. I’m a student…GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

What to actually do: Try to keep your conversations over any problems that do arise solution-focused rather than grumbling, bitching and telling one another off. Whilst people can’t change what they have already done, chances are they might listen to you and try to change their ways if you confront them in a non-aggressive way.

TWO // The dilemma: Your flatmate hasn’t paid their shares of the bills and when you confront them they claim they are broke. The problem is, the bills need to be paid regardless. Eek – what do you do?

What you want to say: “OK, so you bought us a round at the Union last night and a new top for your hot date last week, but the bills HAVE to be paid. All of us are broke…and we still manage to do it. When will you grow up and realise you have responsibilities?”

What to actually do: Gather the troops (aka your other flatmates and the one who isn’t paying) and find out the reasons why they’re unable to make the payment. Then try and help them find a solution: Perhaps their parents can lend them the money so you can afford to pay the landlord?”

THREE // The dilemma: Having tried to survive in your new flat for a couple of months, you’ve suddenly realised it’s just not for you and you want to move out. Now all you have to do is tell your flatmates…..eek.

What you want to say: When I moved in, I thought we’d have fun. In truth, you are all the MOST BORING FLATMATES I HAVE EVER MET. I NEED OUT.

What to actually do: Even if you get on well with your flatmates, at some point you may find you want to move out. The most important thing is not to stitch up your remaining flatmates, so you need to tell them of your intentions and insist you will help find someone to replace you. By being as helpful as possible in finding a replacement (that they will all like) you are showing that you hold no grudges and they will respect you for that. Hey, just because you’re moving out doesn’t mean you have to stop hanging out.

FOUR // The dilemma: A friend from your course has suggested you share a house together. The thought scares the life out of you, so how do you tell them you don’t want to share with them?

What you want to say: Thanks mate, but the thought of living with you makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. You’re untidy, your hygiene habits are despicable and I’m pretty sure you’re the type who would buy blue loo roll!

What to actually do: If your friend is on the same course as you, you have the perfect excuse. Tell them that whilst you would love to live with them, living and working together might be too much. You can soften the blow by convincing them that having two separate houses between you means more opportunities for house parties. Perfect!

Tiffany writes for top magazines incuding Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Stylist and Men’s Health. She currently runs a magazine course for those wanting to learn how to become a journalist. You can find out more at www.tiffanywright.co.uk

Holly Smith Editor