How to avoid choosing horrific housematesBy Joe Myko
Congrats’, you’ve almost survived your first term at uni! In the process, you’ve (hopefully) stepped up to the next level of academia, fed yourself (terribly), warded off the homesickness, drank alcohol and just about made some pretty decent mates. But don’t rest on your laurels, it’s already time to pick the people you’ll be living with in your second year of university!
A good mate doesn’t always translate to a good housemate
Am I going to sit here and tell you not live with your mates? Course not. You’re not going to just turn around to your new group of pals, the sole reason you haven’t dropped out yet and started an initially rewarding, ultimately soul-destroying career at Waitrose, and be like Oh yeah, I’m sorry but, I just think we’re too good mates to live together next year and I don’t want to ruin it. Instead, I’m gonna’ live with some ragtag collection of Billy no-mates and incoming international students, but we’ll still stay best buds yeah? No, live with the people you know and like. But, people you really know and like - just because Minesweep Micky is class on a night out doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an ideal housemate. Just be careful, you don’t want to spend the best year of uni surrounded by someone else’s filth, wafting smoke away from fire alarms and attempting to excuse yourself from nights out 24/7. Oh c’mon, don’t be a bottle-bank? I’ve already got you a ticket and Sundays are the best night anyway!
There’s no ideal number of housemates, as it obviously depends on how many of you there potentially are. We’re really sorry Claire, we’d all genuinely love to live with you next year, but, UniLad says that six is the ideal house size, so unfortunately you’ve not made the cut. If you’ve got a close group of mates who all want to live together, of a reasonable number, then live together. When you start heading towards double figures, that’s when it’s getting ridiculous. Just split into two - trust me. You may have this mental picture of living in your group of 13, that it’ll be this beautiful fusion of debauchery and banter, like a cutscene from Bad Neighbours (1 or 2 dependant on gender), but in reality, it’ll just be a mess. The first few pre-drinks will be great, but as you go on, the house will become plagued with unwashed plates, pizza boxes, 70cl Aldi vodka bottles, passive-aggression and academic disappointment — so choose wisely, somewhere between 3 and (at a push) 9.
The classic stereotypes to avoid
The Ghost: They exist — there are occasional noises from their room, there’s food in the fridge that doesn’t belong to anyone else, and you vaguely remember meeting them in Freshers Week, but where are they? An obvious no-no for living with again.
The Food Thief: Perpetrator of the most heinous of crimes, we know who they are and they know who they are — what starts out as a splash of milk or chunk of butter will escalate. You’ll start opening the fridge to find one less chicken breast piece, unidentifiable fingerprints in your jar of Nakota, or approximately 300ml less orange juice in your carton, and no one wants that. Oh my bad man, I thought bread was communal.
The Passive-Aggression Connoisseur: Probably my least favourite; they’ll storm around the house, constantly put pictures in the group chat of dirty glasses on the kitchen table or mildly overfill bins, comment on how late you got back last night and basically just be a total #@&$%. If they’re like this in first year, just imagine how they’ll be in second, with the added stress of actual work..
The Couple: All friendship groups have one, and if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. What started out as few drunken kisses, which you all obviously gave them hilarious banter for, will or has escalated to a full-blown boyfriend/girlfriend situation. It’ll probably go one of two ways, living together will either kill their relationship or kill your friendship. If it’s still going by the end of your second year, and you’ve somehow put up with the kitchen-cuddling, domestic domestics and constant bed-creaking — whilst remaining friends — then fair play. But it’s unlikely. 90% of the time this one will have a messy conclusion for all involved.
The Slob: What Gary? He’s a right lad though! Watch out for this one, the warning signs should already be there. They take out the bins once a term, their room emanates BO, they didn’t even realise other people cleaned the bathroom, and the one time they actually do their washing up they then leave it on the drying rack for weeks. You might like them, they might be a lovely guy/gal, but don’t live with them — you’ll end up hating them (and yourself) for it.
Alright, you now hopefully know who to live with, you can start assembling the Avengers and you’re almost ready to get out there and start trudging from one disappointing, awkward house viewing to the next.