What to do if you live with flatmates you don’t like

30 Apr 2021
By Sonam P., Student at Aston University

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve found yourself living with roommates you don’t particularly like - which isn’t ideal (trust me, I’ve been there).

And it’s not just because your relationship with your roommate is nowhere near Joey-and-Chandler status or could never compete with the ride-or-die friendship of Shrek and Donkey. It’s because you’re also having to deal with them during a global pandemic.

With that in mind, I feel it’s my duty to share the following tips, in hope they can offer you some guidance through this anxiety-ridden time.

So, here’s everything you need to do to make living with those flatmates as we come to the end of the academic year.

Small talk is key

We all can relate to those awkward moments when you find yourself stuck in the communal areas of your flat with your roommates, amid an uncomfortable silence. It’s the kind of silence you find in exam rooms, made worse when your stomach decides to suddenly growl uncontrollably.

Yes, I’m talking that level of awkwardness.

In the moment, interactions can feel like torture. So, in order to save yourself from unnecessary discomfort, use small talk to fill those silences. It’s no supernatural skill but it’s definitely a magical tool that can ease the atmosphere when tensions are running high, making awkward silences… well, less awkward.

And I know, sometimes, it might take you being the bigger person to start a conversation - even though it feels ‘pointless’ because you just don’t ‘vibe’ - give it a go and see what happens.

Start by finding those things you have in common. Have you got a mutual love for Tesco Value Coco Pops or reality TV? Use those similarities to your advantage and avoid focusing on the differences.

Communicate your expectations

Living with people requires a lot of communication. But, as everyone is different, there are times where arguments are created simply because the communication is pretty poor in the first place.

That means minor problems about cleanliness can instantly become rows over safety. To avoid this, having a conversation outlining what each person’s expectations are whilst we’re still fighting Covid-19 is essential.

Topics can include:

  • How often you should disinfect door handles, countertops and shared spaces
  • Wearing a mask beyond your flat/house
  • Not having people over
  • Following the government guidelines for your area
  • Planning what will happen if someone gets Covid in the flat and getting tested for coronavirus
  • Emergency contacts
  • Any roommates shielding or with underlying health conditions

When discussing expectations, your feelings or an incident, be mindful of how you communicate. Think about whether it’s something you can chat about via text or whether it’s more of a face-to-face conversation. Whichever mode you choose, even in moments of frustration, avoid saying things in rage and think carefully about how you handle it.

The real key here is on finding a resolution, even if it isn’t the resolution you were hoping for. That’s because, essentially, it isn’t solely about managing your own needs and concerns, it also includes considering your roommates.

In the long run, having a mutual understanding for one another will make the experience of living together much more pleasant.

Avoid tit-for-tat

It can be easy to find yourself retaliating to your roommate unnecessarily, especially since you’re both spending more time inside (boredom can wrongfully influence you, too). You want to avoid tit-for-tat, though, so, keep your focus on how you can move forward with them instead, even if they’re pushing your buttons.

If you find that you just can’t get along with each other, that’s okay, too. Although it’s ideal to be friends with your flatmate, in a world filled with almost eight billion people, unfortunately, it’s highly likely that some of us will find ourselves living with roommates with personalities that parallel Cinderella’s evil sisters.

But you can find comfort in knowing that, like all good fairy tales, the wickedness is temporary. You won’t be living with these people forever and this absolutely won’t define your future living experiences, or your time at uni.

Put your mental health first

Lastly, living with people you don’t get on with can be stressful, particularly when you’re trying to study a degree at the same time. So, remember to put your mental health first. Do the things that make you happy, take time out for your wellbeing and talk to someone if you’re really struggling.

These are some great resources to help you get started:

For more articles on copy with your wellbeing during coronavirus, click here.

Have you sorted out accommodation for next year yet? If you’ve got a group of friends you’d like to live with, you can now use our group booking tool to secure your ideal student accommodation.

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I’m a business management student nearing the end of my studies. Beside loving to write in my spare time, I enjoy traveling and exploring.