How To Ace A Flat Share And Not Fall Out With Your Best Mates

We know, living with other people can be teeth-achingly hard. Here's how to do it without screaming from stress.

Once you've cottoned onto a few tips 'n' tricks, sharing's a cinch Pic credit: Steve Madden

Cups in the sink, mouldy washing in the machine and her boring-ass boyfriend cluttering up the living room. That’s before we’ve gotten to the fact that the pal you got on so great with before you shared a gaff together eats all your food, never pays the bills on time and is always tapping you up for a loan.

Fact is, house or flatshares, so often romanticised on telly, can be a bloody nightmare. Yeah, she was great craic when you were falling out of Whelan’s and into Eddie Rockets together at 2am, but somehow, living together has caused seismic cracks to form in your previously smooth relationship. You think she’s a messy pig, she thinks you’re an uptight prig. How to deal?

We’re not suggesting rotas (who wants to be dictated to by a piece of paper?) but a few sensible, fair ground rules you can both agree on can help you both to live peacefully with each other without snarling at each other every time you meet at the bathroom door.

The non-negotiables

Don’t use her Kerastase shampoo and conditioner or swipe a sneaky go of her Creme de la Mer. She’ll know, and be raging. Likewise, if you’re shelling out for products, keep them in your room.

It’s never okay to remove someone else’s washing from the machine without permission and just dump it in a pile to rot and stink. We get you want to wash your own stuff, but you can ask politely, can’t you?

It’s your gaff too, but it’s not his, and he’s not paying the bills. So, if you want to have your boyfriend over, then have a bit of cop-on. Twice a week is okay; any more and he should be paying rent. And you need to clear it with her first.

Ride on: Have all the sex you want, but respect that not everyone wants to hear it. Apartment walls are like tissue, and she can hear you. We mean, she really, definitely can.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to become her mother, and phone her on the reg wondering if she’s coming home for dinner. Likewise, gently point out to her that you’d appreciate the same respect to be returned.

Borrowing her clothes without asking, burning fag holes into them/dousing them with red wine or otherwise rendering them unwearable and then nonchalantly acting as if it’s not a big deal, is not on. You’re going to have to replace it, okay?

Pets are always a thorny issue. She likes dogs; you love cats. If you’re going to get one, you better make damn sure you’re both very clear on the finances, and more importantly, who cleans up what, too.

Having mates to stay? Don’t offer them her room if you know she won’t be home that night. It’s not cool.

The nice to haves

Is she always the one to has to hoof the bin out to the kerb? Listen: you live there too and you should be taking it in turns. Likewise for the hoovering, the loo-scrubbing and the general cleaning and tidying.

Get a household kitty together for communal stuff you both use, like tea bags, milk and toilet roll.

If it’s after 10pm, consider it a criminal offense to touch another housemate’s booze stash. If it’s before 10pm, and an emergency, help yourself – but replace it before she gets home.

Our horror stories

Team STELLAR’s got more than its fair share of room-mate muck-ups.

“Back in my dorm-sharing days I once woke up to discover that the couple in the bunk above had dropped their used condom wrapper on my pillow. After spending most of the night trying to block out their sex noises, you can imagine that I really wasn’t amused!”

“I lived with a friend who was massively un-self aware and regularly did things that just drove the rest of us up the walls. She couldn’t take any form of criticism at all, blowing her top and stamping off at the very sign. The final straw was when she had a key cut for her fella, and never asked if any of us minded. We minded.”

“I lived with a girl who would never, EVER clean. A friend was coming to visit so I kept talking about how much I needed to clean up because “we” had let the place get so bad. It came to the point that they decided they should chip in and after, I suggested we make it a weekly thing, and it stuck.”

“I once lived with a guy who was into whatever drugs he could get his hands on, and would invite his similarly-minded pals to come over, so there’d be ten of them in our kitchen for days at a time. I went in once and all the dishes in the sink were unwashed, and had been for days. My housemate turned and said, ‘I wouldn’t use that stuff if I were you, there’s vomit all over them’. Delightful.”

“I lived with a girl who didn’t wash her sheets for a whole year, and only showered twice that I know of. She also let two backpackers she’d never met before sleep in our living room, without telling any of us.”

Have you got a bone-shaking tale of sharing-based woe? Dish it below. Anon, of course.
Pic credit: Steve Madden