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Ten tips to make you the perfect housemate

It can be a challenge living with people for the first time, especially when you’ve never met them before, and now you have to spend time with them in VERY close quarters! 

Although initially it can be a source of anxiety, many housemates go on to become life-long friends – here’s a few tips to get your friendship off to a great start!

1. Clear communication

Talk to your housemates, find out what their expectations are as well as expressing yours.   It’s usually good to set a few ground rules in the early stages so you don’t end up stepping on anyone’s toes.

2. Keep an open mind

Your housemates may be very different from you – whether it be a different background, culture or lifestyle choice but I bet you’ll be able to find some common ground.  You never know you might just learn something new, but even if you don’t acceptance or even just plain old tolerance will go a long way.  Vive la différence!

3. Respect boundaries (i.e. don’t touch anything that’s not yours!)

There will always be a time when you’ve run out of something and a) you’re on an essay deadline and really don’t have time to leave the house or b) you’re in your onesie and you really can’t be bothered to get dressed and leave the house but always make sure you ask your housemate before taking their last bit of milk or borrowing their ridiculously expensive shower gel.  Although we don’t recommend waking them if its 3am in the morning – on this occasion, an apology and offer of a nice cooked meal may be a good alternative.  Whatever you do, don’t let notes get involved….

4. Don’t be passive aggressive

If your housemates have done something to offend you, try to nip it in the bud as early as possible.  Don’t give them the silent treatment and whatever you do – don’t leave passive-aggressive notes around the house!  It will only end up on Twitter….

Fridge Note

5. Pay up on time

Whether it’s your share of the rent or your contribution to the household bills, always make sure you pay on time so your housemates don’t have to come chasing you - if it’s communicated clearly how much everyone owes at the start there shouldn’t be a problem. 

Group money matters can always be tricky – and can be the source of many an argument.  Don’t expect your housemates to join in the celebrations if you’re partying before your share of the rent has been paid.

6. Tidy up (but don’t be a neat freak)!

It’s okay to leave a pile of clothes in your room if you really want to, but try to keep communal areas as tidy as possible.  Don’t leave plates on the living room floor or dishes in the sink to soak and don’t leave wet towels on the floor in the bathroom.  We don’t want you to be a slob but we don’t want you to go too far the opposite way either.  No one likes the clean police.

7. Don’t be anti-social

It’s okay to be a private person or a social butterfly but make sure your housemates know you exist.  Try not to spend all day in your room revising, binge-watching Netflix or playing video games OR if you’re constantly out on the town, then why not invite your housemates along too.

8. Don’t invite your partner over ALL the time

So you may have met your soulmate during Fresher’s week, you’re totally inseparable and you want to spend the rest of your lives together… but it’s unlikely that your housemates will feel the same.  Keep the PDAs to a minimum, try to have some ‘me’ time every now and again but if they are really going to be spending a considerable amount of time at your place, then at least ask them to contribute towards bills and food as a way of placating the others.

9. Try not to be too much of a party animal

Making your flat party-central, 24/7 may make you the most popular student on campus, but with your housemates?  Probably not…  

All-night parties are all part of the student experience, but so is getting a good grade at the end of it, so think again before you invite all your mates back for a rave the night before your housemates exam.

10. Become a culinary wizard

A sure-fire way of winning over your friends is showing them how much of a whizz you are in the kitchen – particularly if their only skill is ripping the lid off a Pot Noodle in record time.  Sharing meals with friends is a great way of bonding and can save you money when buying ingredients in bulk. 

But living together is all about give and take and you don’t want to end up as the house chef so everyone will need to get involved. Even Pot Noodle guy.   

About the author

Heather Collin

Heather Collin

Heather graduated from University in History and English and has spent the last ten years working in Marketing, PR and Events.  She currently works in Digital Communications at Wrexham Glyndwr.

To get in touch with Heather please email