student housing

Getting On With Your Housemates in Shared Student Accommodation

Living in sharing accommodation with fellow students can be very exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also create anxiety, especially if you will be sharing with people you do not know very well or have not previously met.

One major challenge is learning how to deal with the enviable conflicts that will occur from time to time.   Here student accommodation experts StudentHQ Lettings provide some top tips to help you make the most of your university experience.

Get to Know Your Housemates

If you make the effort to build relationships with your housemates you are likely to have fewer issues than those who don’t bother.   You don’t need to be best friends with your housemates, but the better you know each other the easier it is to deal with problems.  Understanding their personality and preferences can help prevent conflicts and misunderstandings.

Take the time to understand what is important to each of your housemate’s such as family, hobbies, academic interests, religious beliefs, etc.  This will help you to establish common ground whilst helping you to avoid upsetting them with inappropriate conversation or actions.

Respect

When living in sharing student accommodation it is important that you treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.   This may sound simple enough, but it requires effort, especially when you feel you’re not being respected.   Always be considerate to your housemate’s feelings and opinions even if you do not necessarily agree with them.   This will help to establish a foundation of respect.

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Here are a few of our top tips:

  • Always ask if you want to borrow something
  • Always knock on a closed door before you enter a housemate’s room
  • Give people privacy when they’re on the phone as the conversation may be private.
  • Allow your housemate’s some time on their own as everyone needs a little quiet time.
  • Understand that people are different and you don’t have to be the same to get on.

Communication

A lack of communication is the biggest culprit when it comes to student house conflicts.  Be honest with your housemate’s if there is a problem as ignoring it is only likely to make things worse.  Approach them in a respectful manner and talk face to face rather than communicating through notes, text messages and emails.   Avoid apportioning blame, name-calling, and swearing as this will only make matters worse.   Keep your tone calm and polite, and address issues in private rather than in front of others.

Accepting Differences

You don’t have to have everything in common to get along. In fact, living with someone who has different opinions, experiences, and perspectives can be a lot more fun.   You can learn a lot from your housemates and your housemates can learn a lot from you.   Try to value each other’s uniqueness and differences.

Remember that it is only natural to be anxious and concerned about living with someone you have not previously met or do not know very well.   Your housemates may be experiencing the same issues and concerns that you are so talk to each other about what is important to you.

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Be Flexible & Prepared to Compromise

It’s unlikely that you are perfect and neither are your housemate’s.   Decide what is worth having a conflict over and what is not.   For example, you may not like waking up to a hair dryer at 7 a.m., but isn’t that better than being kept up all night to the sounds of your housemate vomiting after a night of heavy drinking?

Compromise is part and parcel of living with other people and a true test of putting the common good above your own.  Sometimes you’ll realise that making your flatmates happy may be more important than your individual wishes, especially if differences arise about something really petty.  Remember – it works both ways – they’ll be making compromises for you too.

Discussing Expectations

Your housemates can’t read your mind so don’t assume everyone is on the same page.   If you have an expectation, share it with your housemates and explain why you feel that way.   Ask them if they are comfortable with your expectations and if not, find a way to compromise or an alternate solution.   For example, you may want your housemates to let you know in advance before they invite guests to stay.   Let them know what your expectations are and why. Try to be specific without appearing bossy or unreasonable.

Establishing Boundaries

Again, your housemates can’t read your mind.   Let them know your boundaries and politely tell your housemates when those boundaries have been crossed.   Let your housemates know what annoys you, pet peeves and other information you feel they should know.

Togetherness is great, but too much of a good thing, sometimes that’s not so great.   You and your housemates should talk about the time you need alone or with others

Be Responsible and Accept Responsibility

You are ultimately responsible for yourself and your actions. Take ownership of your mistakes and make every effort to correct the problem.

Compromise or Find Alternative Solution

You can’t always get your way. Compromise is sometimes necessary, finding that middle ground that allows all parties to be comfortable with a situation.  If a compromise can’t be reached an alternative solution may be needed depending on how important or how strongly you feel about the issue.

Resolving Problems

If there is a problem with your housemates, address the issue within three days. If you have not addressed the issue within three days, then let it go.   At this point, you have decided that the issue wasn’t that important to bring up.

If you’re having trouble dealing with a situation amongst yourselves then you could seek external help from your university.  Your student union will be happy to offer advice, guidance and support should it be required.

Thank you for reading, be sure to check our other student advice.