Living with flatmates is a lot like being in a relationship. At least, I think it is. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been in a proper relationship. I mean, there was that one time in high school but that doesn’t really count. But I have given a lot of relationship advice to people in relationships. Although I don’t know why they’d ask me for advice seeing as I have no experience in the topic. Take my advice or don’t, either way it’s not my fault.
I should really title this post: How to Live with One Flatmate. Just one. Because I’m only living with one flatmate and have never lived with more than one. But I don’t think that title would get as many clicks, so if this counts as click-bait … Sorry. (But not really).
Live with friends (or people you actually trust and get along with).
If you’re fortunate enough, live with friends. But live with close friends who you’ve already spent a ridiculous amount of time together. Live with friends who you’ve travelled with so you’ve already got a good idea of what it’s like to share a bathroom with them. But also, just know that no matter how much time you previously spent with these people, you’ll realise there’s still so much more to learn about them. Like, I didn’t realise how fucking crazy Lien was until I started living with her. Like, so crazy she genuinely scares me and makes me wonder how I ever became friends with her.
Don’t keep score.
Tallying is a waste of time and only causes conflict. Just because one flatmate did something two times already, doesn’t mean it’s the other flatmate’s turn to do it. Everything should be situational. Stop keeping score and just do the task that needs to be done. Whether it’s washing the dishes or vacuuming the flat, stop arguing about who’s turn it is and just do it.
None of this passive-aggressive bullshit. No fucking Post-It notes. No indirect Facebook status’. Be honest. Be respectful. Be understanding. Talk it out. If you have a problem, don’t bottle it up and keep it in the back of your mind. You’ll drive yourself mad. Confront your flatmates with any issues you have and work it all out, then and there.
Set things straight from the beginning.
Whether it’s money, chores, knowing what the sock on the door means, set things straight from the beginning. It’s so much easier to avoid certain situations when you already know what to do and how to deal with it.
Sharing is caring! Build a home, don’t just live in a space with people you’re not even comfortable with. Cook a meal for everyone, let your flatmate drink the tea you bought, make decisions together! It’s so much more comfortable living in a place where everyone is in it together.
You will get annoyed.
Know that no matter how close you are or aren't, you'll still find yourself getting annoyed at your flatmates. Trust me. Like, I fucking love my flatmate. She's my best friend. More than a best friend, like a sister. And we still bicker. We argue about if we're having an argument. And living in such a small flat doesn't make it easier. But at the end of the day, we know not to take anything personally.
Aretha Franklin gets it. And you should too.