Getting on with flatmates can sometimes be a breeze: but more often than not you’ll find that you make good friends with some, get along alright with others, and very occasionally, you might find that you don’t get along at all with a minority.
In my experience, when there’s typically between 5 and 12 of you in halls, there’s bound to be some personalities that clash. My flatmates and I found that out the hard way in first year (Though we did come away from that year with a group of four of us who lived together in second year, too, so it wasn’t all bad!) as we had issue after issue with people arguing, disagreements between groups and just a lot of very petty problems that could’ve been dealt with a lot more directly. Below is a very short list of ideas in regards to getting on with flatmates. They might not all be possible or realistic in your situation, but they could be adapted, and it’s worth giving it a go, because I find your closest friends at University are often the ones that can put up with living with you!
- BE FRIENDLY AND APPROACHABLE
The first pointer is a really obvious one. Making sure, from when you move in and throughout the year, that you’re as friendly as you can be and approachable to all your flatmates will ensure that when there’s any problems, they’ll often be dealt with directly. Being positive will help you make long-term friends, and making sure they feel comfortable enough to talk to you about anything will result in a much easier experience for everyone. Even when someone else is unfriendly and unapproachable, do your best to stick to this method.
- DON’T FOCUS TOO MUCH ON AN INDIVIDUAL
When you move into halls, it won’t take long for you to scope out those you think you’ll get on with, and those you won’t. It gets very easy to accidentally focus all your attention on those who seem like your cup of tea, but this will leave other flatmates feeling excluded, and you might make some feel uncomfortable or hurt. Try and involve everyone, and you’ll find that people surprise you when given the chance!
- ACCEPT DIFFERENCES
When you’re thrown into a flat with a load of strangers, it can get tough to remember just how different people can be. While at school, you can pick your friends on your common interests and habits, University halls isn’t like that. You have to get on with everyone to have an easy life, and the best way to head in this direction is to accept that all of these people are going to be incredibly different, with different experiences, goals, friendships and preferences. It’ll be a learning curve, but a good one, and you’ll soon find yourself with friends from all walks of life.
- CHINESE WHISPERS
Another obvious one but (again, from experience), really difficult to deal with in real life. It’s very likely, given the small space you and a large group of strangers are now sharing, that there may be some animosity at some point. This will only be heightened if it isn’t dealt with directly. Talking about things behind peoples back, not talking through arguments or disagreements and letting things brew is the absolute opposite of what you should do.
Where possible, you should take the individual or group to the side, talk to them about the issue and try to find a resolution. Remember that you’re all adults, and ideally, your home shouldn’t be as tense as the school playground often was.
Talk, talk, talk.