How to pick your housemates at university

Living with people is one of the best parts of the university experience.  It is also a great way to prepare you for adult life, when you move away from home to begin your own journey.  However, picking housemates isn’t always the easiest task, and so this article was written to help ease the process.

1. Move in with the right people for the right reasons

Picking people to live with isn’t a task to be taken lightly.  You’ll be living with these people for at least a year, so you shouldn’t rush into it.  Some people just live with their flatmates from first year, but this doesn’t mean you have to.  If you don’t get on with your current flatmates, then don’t feel any obligation to live with them.  You should move in with them, because YOU WANT to, not because you feel like YOU HAVE to.

Student Cribs argues that you need to be brutal when it comes to picking housemates.  If you don’t want to live with someone then tell them.  This isn’t the time for British awkwardness.  A year is a long time to live with someone you don’t like. 

Instead, cast your net further afield and proactively look for a great group of  potential housemates.  Try looking for those with similar interests to you, whether this is sports or video games.  These could be your coursemates, people who go to the same clubs or societies as you or maybe others in your accommodation. 

2. Try before you buy

If you’ve found some people that you seriously want to live with, then undergo a month long trial period first.  Living together in your first year accommodation is a great way to see how you will get on.

The purpose of this is to really get to know the people.  And I mean, really, get to know them.  You’ll get to know all of their nasty little habits like not cleaning up after they cook or leaving their trainers on the middle of the living room floor, despite how many times you’ve told them to pick them up before somebody trips over them and breaks their neck.  But I digress.  And of course, it also gives your potential housemates the chance to really get to know you and the habits that you have.  Nobody’s perfect.  

Once you notice these habits, talk about them.  Communicate and compromise.  This is a chance for you to fix these problems before they become major issues.  And If you can’t work through these problems in a trial period, then you shouldn’t permanently move in with these people.

3. Be careful in moving in with a loved one

I’m not agreeing with The Tab and saying that you probably shouldn’t move in with a partner.  I’ve no right to say that.  If you’re serious enough about them then that’s great  Follow your heart.

However, be care about your decision.  If you aren’t completely serious about this person, then don’t move in with them.  For example, Cosmopolitan interviewed a couple who found that living together was too much stress on their relationship and they both had to make new living arrangements.

 If you break up with your partner halfway through your lease, then things could get awkward.  Not just for you, but for your current housemates.

On this note, make sure you have a contingency plan in case this happens.  It’s going to be a painful conversation, but a necessary one.  You need to think about how your housemates will be affected and what you’ll do next.

4.Think about Money

The Telegraph recommends that you talk openly and realistically about budgets.

You should have discussions about what everybody’s budget is and who can afford what.  This isn’t just related to rent, but also living prices.  This means bills, food, cutlery, crockery.  Decide who is the best person to pay for these things.  If some people are paying for everything and others aren’t contributing anything, then this is going to cause conflict.

5. Don’t stress yourself out about it

Obviously don’t leave it all to the last minute, but don’t feel pressured to find that perfect house and group of housemates straight away.

Use semester one to get to know people and to get to know yourself.  Your attitudes about yourself and others may change over time.  If you lock yourself into a contract with the first five people you meet, then you could be setting yourself up for failure.  What happens if you fall out with one of them in semester two?

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