Flatshare – co-existence with other people

  • Painted image of four beds - one is well made the others are messy.

Most students will experience living with other people in one way or another. It could be living in student accommodation, sharing a flat with friends or even renting a room in a shared flat with people you don’t know. It’s almost inevitable with the prices and density of London. Therefore, we all have to find our ways to make the best out of it and not get stuck in conflicts and incredibly awkward situations that could occur. 

Here are my top tips in surviving with other people. Focusing on situation where you don’t know your flat-mates very well. Or even if you are living with friends you know very well these can be quite useful tips. Everybody is different and we need to learn how to co-exist in the shoe-box-sized flats in London.

1.  Talk to others

I once spent months in a flatshare and I never talked to “the girl from the other room”. I didn’t know who she was, what she did and what sort of person she was. So I ended up making random assumptions about her, getting annoyed by all kinds of small habits she had and I could feel that we both didn’t want to be in the same room for too long for no real reason.

It might not be easy to start a conversation with a random stranger but if you live with someone and you see them every day, they don’t really qualify as random strangers anymore. By talking you can show the other person that you are friendly and welcoming, you can share your interests and chances are that the other person will react the same way and you will end up being good friends with them. It’s just another human being. Nothing scary. Just showing a little kindness can go a long way and in almost all cases you will get rewarded with kindness as well.

2. Understand that everybody is different

Diversity and different cultures. People of all age from all over the world. Your flat mates. Sounds amazing. But that death metal music that sounds like the same horrific noise on a loop just won’t cure your Saturday morning headache and when you smell that someones culinary masterpiece is burning on the stove, left alone and slowly turning the frying pan into a 3 cm thick layer of coal that you will have to scrub off if you ever intend to use it again… then you just hate everything and everyone and quietly imagine a deserted island with your name on it.

It’s not easy if several different cultures, daily routines, schedules and personalities have to live under the same roof. You get people doing night shifts that will annoy the early birds and people who are incredibly friendly who will terrify the lonely introverts. But once you try to see past that and see the other person’s reasons for doing certain things, you can learn a lot from them and even benefit from living with them.

3. Go out

Not staying in the house all the time is crucial. And when I say this I don’t mean going out clubbing every night. Clubs and bars are a fun part of student lifestyle but if this is your only way to get away from your flatmates then your liver is not going to thank you. London is an amazing city. Absolutely stunning. There are so many concerts and exhibitions, parks and gardens, shops and cafes. Thousands of events and places to choose from. Countless places where you can meet people that are not your flatmates. Or maybe go out with your flat mates and get to know them in a different light.

I find that if I stay in all day with my laptop in front of me, than eventually I will get really grumpy and annoyed. And of course then the person who leaves tea bags on the counter, socks on the table and piles of unwashed dishes in the sink will feel like the worst enemy. So even if I have to do a lot of computer work, I go out and sit in a coffee shop watching people passing by and drinking some wonderful coffee beverage that I can’t pronounce. Not to mention that staying in all the time can’t be good for your creative work either. Go out and get inspired!

I hope my three golden rules will help you survive and enjoy living and sharing in London.

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By Anna Margreta – BA Ceramic Design, CSM

This article was originally published on Carousel.