10 tips for sharing flat with strangers

Published by flag-gr Usuario Anónimo — 2 years ago

Blog: Life in Athens
Tags: Erasmus tips

During your first Erasmus, you may have to live in a room in a shared flat with roommates for the first time. Don't be afraid, it will be a piece of cake once you read our tips for sharing an apartment with strangers!

Living with roommates is different from living with your family. Many things change and you get to be more independent, but you also have more responsibilities. This definitely helped me grow to a more mature person -dealing with the problems of a household welcomes you to the adult life. Living with other people does have its rules, though. It is not easy, especially if you have never done it before. Here, I will write some tips on how to make everyday life in the house easier.

1. Meet your new flatmates in person

If you are about to live with strangers, be sure to talk to them in person first. Do not agree on living with someone just by reading their ardor contacting them online. The personality of a person, their “aura” and whether or not you can communicate with them, are usually not visible through a phone call or a conversation via Facebook chat!

2. Ask questions

When it comes to finding new flatmates, you shouldn't feel like you're making the other person feel bad or pressured, asking questions is normal and necessary and you should do it in order to avoid bad situations in the future. If you are about to rent a house where there is already somebody, feel free to ask them about the house: the heating/air-conditioning, the usual expenses, the existence or not of pets etc. If, on the other hand, you have a house and you're looking for roommates, ask the candidates about their studies, habits etc. For example, if you have to wake up at 6 a. m., a band member who should practise every night for their shows would probably not be the ideal solution. There are no bad roommates, but there are bad matches.

3. Don't live with friends

If you're about to live with a friend, this may seem simpler, but it's usually more complicated. Sometimes, living with a friend makes it harder to complain about certain things that might annoy you, regarding their behaviour in the house. However, the rules still exist among friends and should be followed. If something annoys you, you should say it -the friend to friend relationship is different than the one between two roommates. Consider it as two different and separate relationships you have with the same person. Mentioning something that bothers you, does not mean that you are insulting the other person. It means that you want the house-sharing to be pleasant for all sides. This will prevent your friendship from a bigger trouble in the future -because if you are holding your annoyment, at some point it will become anger and you will express it in a much worse way.

4. Be empathic

You should respect the comments your roommates are making. You may have an idea of everyday life, but they do to. If they tell you that something in your behaviour is causing them problems, try and fix it.

5. Find an accommodation 2 bathrooms

Try to find a house with at least two bathrooms if you are living with more flatmates. People may have a different perspective of hygiene and this is most evident in the bathroom. There are people that can be more sloppy and they do not mind leaving the bathroom floor wet or semi-cleaning it after they've used it. However, there are others that are much more careful and need the bathroom to be absolutely clean. If the house has two bathrooms, make sure you share your bathroom with someone that has a similar conception of hygiene. If it is not possible to live in a house that has more than one bathroom, then you should establish some rules that everyone in the house will need to follow. Your personal hygiene and the condition in which you want to find your bathroom when your roommates have used it is not a luxury, nor it is something you should compromise about!

6. Collaborate with household chores

Make a schedule regarding cleaning and follow it. You could stick it on the fridge and it could be a monthly schedule: every week, one of the roommates gets to clean a certain room of the house. Of course, this doesn't mean being disrespectful or leaving rooms dirty, just because it's not your week to clean them. When leaving a room, you should leave it the exact way you found it -no clothes or shoes thrown all around the living room for example. The schedule is supposed to be about the cleaning up of a room, not about the way of reconstructing a whole mess.

7. Don't forget you're not alone

You should be constantly aware of the fact that you're not living alone. When you're done eating, for example, you should wash your dishes, together with everything else you've washed, so that the kitchen is clean and your roommates can cook for themselves too. When you have a shower, you shouldn't leave the floor wet etc.

8. Share service charges

Be careful with the financial issues of the house: everything should be split and you shouldn't try to profit for your roommates, but, also, you should be careful so that they do not fool you to make profit. Ask to see all the bills and do not just pay the amount of money they ask you without checking if this is actually the amount you own.

9. Share communal expenses

Everyone should have their own shelf in the kitchen and in the fridge with their own food. If there is food that everyone in the house eats -for example, the salt, you should split the money. Other things you're supposed to buy in common are the necessary stuff for cleaning the house.

10. Let your roommates know if you have visitors coming

Always let your roommates know when you have friends over for dinner or if you're throwing a party. I'm not saying that you should ask your friends if you can invite your best friend over to hang out or watch a movie, but if you're going to stay in the common areas, like the living room, the dining table etc, and if you're waiting for more than two or three people, your roommates have the right to know. Also, in the case of a party you shouldn't just let them know, you should also ask them if that's ok. For example, a party of 30 people the night before your roommate's exam would be a bit selfish and disrespectful if they're in their room trying to study while you have loud music and dancing. Asking them to check with their schedule is the right thing to do -after all, you'd want them to ask you to if they were about to do the same thing.

Living with other people is never easy -whether they are your family, your friends or total strangers. The important thing though is to respect them and be honest with them if you feel they are not doing the same for you. Being direct but polite will make you live better with them -and, of course, you should always have the same attitude you ask others to have.

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