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Annoying housemates and how to deal with them

Annoying housemates can add unnecessary stress to your life, making it important to address the problem sooner rather than later. Source: Duy Pham/Unsplash

Being a university student isn’t easy. Apart from hitting the books, there are co-curricular activities to attend, the maintenance of a social life, and for some, juggling a part-time job.

But for some students, being at university can also mean the added stress of living away from home and sharing a flat with taxing personalities that leave you tearing your hair out.

There’s no denying that living with others isn’t easy, but here are three annoying types of housemates you might encounter and how to deal with them if you do…

The messy one

Piles of unwashed dishes. Refusing to take out the trash. Smelly clothes littered across the floor. Papers strewn across the dining table. Hair clogging up the drain…

We get it – living with a slob can cause the temple in your forehead to throb, especially when it begins to affect your daily routine. If the filth is building up, it’s important to address the issue sooner rather than later by speaking to your housemate and building a solution together.

You can draw up a duty roster and impose a fine for any chores not done, increasing your firmness in reminding them of their tasks if necessary. If they’re plain lazy, negotiate a deal – if they don’t uphold their end of the bargain when it comes to tidying the flat, you get something in return for tidying up shared space.

Sure, you might be tempted to throw out their stuff, but chances are, you’ll be fuelling the fire to a long fued that won’t diminish without some collateral damage.

The party animal

It’s never fun to live with a party animal, but try handling the situation by speaking with them first and coming up with an amicable solution. Source: Giphy

There’s nothing wrong with living with a party animal – so long as they party out of the flat. But when they continually bring the party home along with a raucous crowd, you’ll need to speak to them about setting some boundaries.

Negotiate – suggest that they rotate the party between friends’ houses, ensuring they don’t hold more than a certain number of parties in your shared accommodation per month. And if they do, agree to keep the noise down by a specific time out of respect for you and your other housemates (if any), also making sure they promise to clean up once they’re done.

It’s better to handle the situation by speaking to them directly first rather than complaining to your university if you live on campus. If things don’t change for the better, you might want to speak to your warden, consider kicking your housemate out (if you have the prerogative to do so) or ask for a transfer to a quieter flat.

Hopefully you won’t have to resort to that once their workload increases and they have less time for parties.

The food stealer

Confront your housemate if they’re stealing your food. Source: Giphy

There’s no greater frustration than having your food mysteriously disappear from your fridge or kitchen cupboards, especially after you’ve spent copious amounts of time meal prepping for the week or grocery shopping for busy days ahead.

But if you’re certain your housemate has taken your food without permission, it’s time to have a talk with them, preferably face-to-face. Don’t jump to conclusions – perhaps they had a friend over who took your food by accident, or were tight for money and took your food as a way to get by.

You may be living on a tight budget, but you can work something out with a roommate who’s in difficulty. For example, negotiating that they do more chores in return for taking some of your food, or tutoring you in an area you need help with.

Saying that, if your housemate is in no difficulty and continues to steal your food despite you confronting them about it, you can deploy tactics such as hiding your biscuits or cereal in flour boxes (or in food containers you’re sure they don’t eat), keeping dry goods in airtight containers in your room, or making sure your housemate sees you drinking milk or juice straight from the bottle just to mark your territory.

Retaliating by stealing their food (if they have any) may sound tempting, but remember that two wrongs in no way make a right.

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