Even after the interview process, the flatmate you end up with can always be a bit of a lucky dip. Even someone you got along with for the past three months can change and turn into a nightmare to live with.
If it’s too late to find another place or another person to live with, here are a few tips on how to minimise the anguish…
Quit the games
If your flatmate leaves little passive-aggressive notes around the house, or they are trying to engage you in a game of chicken over the growing pile of dirty dishes, don’t play into their games. Resist the urge to write passive-aggressive notes back to your flatmate, and just be the bigger person and wash those dishes yourself before it gets out of hand. Mind games and sneaky fighting just isn’t worth the stress it causes, especially since they’re with the person you live with.
If your flatmate continues writing notes and doing things they know annoy you, the best way to go about things is to confront them directly. Perhaps your directness will be a wake-up call and your flatmate will reconsider his/her actions.
It doesn’t help anyone to get into a shouting match with your flatmate – it will disturb the neighbours and do some serious damage to the relationship between you and your flatmate, which is not ideal.
If you find yourself losing your temper during a disagreement with your flatmate, take a few deep breaths and try to compose yourself. Think before you speak, and try to imagine the consequences of your actions before dishing them out.
If it all gets to be a bit too much, consider having a back-up plan. Try to get out of the house as much as possible, and stay at a friend’s/family member’s/significant other’s place a couple of nights a week or if things get too crazy between you and your flatmate. The space will give you both some time to breathe and think over the situation rationally, so that when you do come together to discuss the situation again, you will both be able to come to a sound agreement.
Get a mediator
Sometimes it’s a good idea to get a third-party to assess the situation, and give you both a stern talking to if needed. Make sure the third-party will be unbiased and reasonable – a logical mutual friend or someone similar would be perfect in this situation. They will be able to give you both an outsider’s perspective on what is going on, and hopefully provide some advice about how to resolve the conflict.
Establish some rules
Once you’ve finally come to some resolution, set up some simple house rules so that the situation doesn’t have to arise again. Divide chores up, and set up some rules for visitors and parties, or whatever issue is at hand. Put the rules up in writing, so that they can be reviewed if another incident occurs. It seems a little formal, but sometimes it’s just what you need to settle a serious dispute.
At the end of the day, if nothing can be done and you have no choice but to live with a difficult flatmate, the only thing you can control is your own actions. Try to be compassionate and understanding – maybe your flatmate is going through a tough time and is mistakenly taking it out on you, or perhaps your personalities just don’t match. Either way, the best thing to do is try to keep calm and be rational. At least you can still hide out in your room.
James Chapman loves cupcakes and writing. He is well-read and could tell you anything from Elvis’ favourite food to if there are any houses for sale in Epping (however, you could get that information yourself from the real estate section of the newspapers, or by clicking here).