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How to Deal with a Difficult Housemate


How to Deal with a Difficult Housemate


When you’re a student, you’ll be living away from your family, possibly for the first time. That’s exciting, scary and challenging and one of the biggest challenges are all the other people who are living away from home for the first as well. Not everyone is the model of a considerate housemate, and you’ll be navigating the problems of noisy neighbours, unwashed washing up and hogged bathrooms – hopefully not all at once.

It takes skill and diplomacy to navigate these situations – what you want to do is get the problem housemate to moderate their behaviour without making things awkward in the long run. Whether you are sharing a house with only a few other people or in one of the big plots of student accommodation Sheffield has to offer, for example, your living situation can soon feel small and claustrophobic if you manage to make an enemy of the one person who’s monopolising the shared bathroom.

This short guide should help you solve some of these tricky personal problems without creating new ones down the road.

Be Direct

No one wants to be the one leaving passive aggressive notes in the kitchen. If you know who’s causing a problem, it’s best to talk to them directly.

Direct doesn’t mean rude: if you’re immediately antagonistic you’re likely not going to come out of this well. To begin with, just let the person know how what they’re doing affects you. A lot of interpersonal stress comes from people simply not considering how their actions affect other people, so diplomatically setting that right could be all that’s needed for you to see an improvement.

Talk to Others

If you’re living in university accommodation, you should have people around you can talk to about the problem. A sudden escalation to the management of the building may be unwarranted and do more harm than good, but many halls of residence will have student – ‘mentors’ – older students who live in the building, spaced out among the new first years and there to provide support and guidance.

Having a word with one of them if you are having problems with a fellow student could be a great way to resolve the situation while keeping the ‘temperature’ low.

Things to Avoid

Above all, try not to escalate the situation. If someone’s keeping you awake with loud music, it might feel good to retaliate by cranking up your own speakers while they’re trying to sleep, but this is far more likely to create an ongoing feud than it will stop the noise. That also turns you into a noisy neighbour for someone else, and the cycle will repeat. Being direct, diplomatic and getting the other person to see things from your point of view before you escalate matters is the path to success.

This is a sponsored post.

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