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4 ways to show you’re the ideal housemate to live with

Trinity College Foundation Studies

Wed Feb 28 2018


*Names have been changed out of respect for students’ privacy

No one likes having an awful housemate. Your home should be a place where you can relax and de-stress from a long day of classes and the last thing you need is someone ruining your vibe. Instead of taking it out on your annoying roommate, lead by example. Be the better housemate and demonstrate what it’s like to simply be a responsible and respectable person. These tips will ensure you and your housemates avoid future conflicts and hopefully, will help your housemates turn over a new leaf!

Being respectful

Don’t just assume that people will be okay if you borrow things from their room, just cause you’re living together. Although the issue may seem small, if it’s repeated over and over the issue can grow much larger. Avoid conflicts like this by simply respecting others’ space and belongings.

“Being respectful of each other is the best way to reduce conflicts,” says Jesse*, a student who lives with two other housemates and his cat. The next time your housemate is being rude, talk to them about it. Show that you’ve been respectful of them and that they have not shown that in return.

Good communication

Like all relationships, keeping an open and honest line between you and your housemates is practically key to living together. Someone not cleaning up after themselves? Talk to them about it. Are they bringing over too many people? Don’t make it a bigger problem by keeping quiet – talk to them about it and let your thoughts and feelings be known.

“After a serious conflict between [my housemate and I], I decided to sit and have a conversation with her,” says Alice*, another student living with a housemate she felt was being a bit disrespectful.

“We talked about almost everything that we were not satisfied with in the previous days and we both promised we were going to change.”

Confronting someone about your problems with them is simply part of being an adult so speak up and let them know what’s really going on.

Being responsible

Responsibility can be many things. It could be making sure you have your part of the rent, cleaning up after yourself, ensuring you have groceries for the week or letting your housemates know of anything important pertaining to your housing agreement.

Remember how Jesse lives with his two housemates and his cat? Before bringing the cat home, Jesse asked his housemates if they would be okay with the idea of having a cat in the apartment. They were fine with it and Jesse brought the cat home with him.

Now, he is responsible for ensuring the cat is taken care of and that it is trained enough to not cause a nuisance in the home.

Ground rules

Lay some ground rules with you and your housemate(s) to ensure that everyone is doing their part to benefit the home. Rules can be made around things such as:

  • Cleaning after yourself
  • Assigning chores such as cleaning the home, grocery shopping or laundry
  • Using and borrowing property owned by others

If everyone has their part to play and you ensure that everyone is doing what they need to be doing, living with them shouldn’t become a problem.

Simply put, just be a decent human being! Difficult housemates can be a challenge but you can overcome them. And besides, if your living situation really is that terrible, seek out others who are respectful to you as you are to them. Be responsible for looking after yourself and your home and don’t let someone else drag you down. You want to have a great time studying overseas, not a miserable one. So ensure that you follow these tips and show that you can share your home with just about anyone in the years to come.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via