Two flatmates sitting on a couch talking

5 awkward conversations to have with your flatmates

Ye Wang

So you’ve just moved into an apartment with your best mates, and the first few weeks are amazing. You’re cooking meals together, you're having weekend BBQs, and you just played a game of monopoly where no one cheated. You’re thinking, what can possibly go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot – even when your housemates are your best friends. From hogging the bathroom, to bringing home Tinder dates that never leave, it's safe to say we've all heard housemate horror stories.

A lot of the time, these unpleasant situations actually boil down to a failure to communicate. So if you don’t want to find yourself stuck in housemate hell, you've got to start talking things out!

To help you get started, here are the top five awkward conversations that you might need to have with your housemates...

Overnight houseguests

A lot of the time living with someone else means living with their love interests. From the partner of 5 years, to the partner of one night, if you don’t fancy the idea of living with your housemate’s new love, it might be wise to set some ground rules.

For example, you might agree on the maximum number of nights that a guest can stay over each week, or whether it’s necessary to let the other housemates know beforehand. You should also always let your housemates know if you’re not comfortable with their friend or date hanging around. After all, this is your house too, and you have the right to feel comfortable in your own home.

Keeping things clean

People often have different expectations when it comes to cleanliness. Some housemates are absolute clean freaks, while others have never turned on a vacuum in their life. Be open and honest with your housemates about what you expect when it comes to cleaning, and be just as open and receptive to what they might expect from you.

You and your housemates might agree on a mutually acceptable standard of cleanliness, take turns doing chores, or even set up a weekly chore chart – whatever works best with your respective schedules and lifestyles. As always, compromise is key!

Living with pets

While dogs may be known as man's best friend, for some housemates, pets are the enemy. From allergies and phobias, to just straight up thinking cats are the devil incarnate, it's important to be aware that some people aren't going to want to share the house with you and your fur baby.

So, if you or one of your housemates is bringing along a pet, or thinking about getting a new pet, make sure that everyone living at the property is comfortable with this. If not, it might be better to wait or move to a different place.

Quirks and annoying habits

Do your housemates always forget to turn off the lights? Do they hog the bathroom in the morning, or blast music at odd hours? Do they have a habit of barging into your room without knocking? Living with others means adjusting to their quirks, just like your housemates will need to adjust to yours.

But while quirks are one thing, if there are some housemate habits that are seriously bothering you, it's important to get all of this out in the open as soon as possible. In these cases, focus on reaching a compromise that works for the whole house, and try to keep an open mind.

Paying rent and bills on time

If a housemate is defaulting on their portion of the rent or utility bills, it’s time to have a conversation with them to find out if it’s a temporary situation, or if they’ve run into serious financial issues.

You might want to help your housemate out temporarily if you have the means to do so, but make sure that you protect your own interests. Unfortunately, in some instances, a conversation might not be enough to solve the problem. In such cases, you may want to resolve the issue through mediation or other formal legal avenues.

Overall tips on awkward conversations

Living with others is never easy, and there are going to be a lot of awkward conversations you'll need to have along the way. While we hope this list helps, here are some additional tips on how to make awkward conversations less awkward:

  • Approach your housemate at an appropriate time
  • Have the conversation in private
  • Stick to objective facts (for example, instead of telling your housemate that Taylor Swift is the worst, you should focus on how the volume of 'Shake it Off' is disrupting your sleep schedule)

Also, no matter how the conversation goes, stay calm and keep an open mind. It could be tempting to unleash all of your frustrations and unhappiness, but try to remember that doing this is only going to make your conversations a hell of a lot more awkward!

For more tenants tips, check out our Do’s and Don’ts of being a housemate.

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