Living with Others
Living with others can be a difficult experience, be it with friends, family or strangers.
Your living arrangements can affect your mental health so it is important to give this area focus so you can have a restful and enjoyable environment so you can de-stress from academic pressures.
For many, the chances are that this is the first time that you’ve lived away from home. You will need to get to grips with independent living.
Let’s be honest, moving in to a new home, in a new city and sometimes in a new country with a load of complete strangers is one of the strangest if not unnatural experience many of us will have faced, but can also be really exciting. This page has some tips to help you make the most of the experience and manage difficulties.
First day/First Week
If you arrive early, offer to help flatmates move in, we all know how difficult meeting someone for the first time can be, but if you offer to help them move your stuff, some of that really awkward small talk can be avoided. Having something practical to do can help you both feel a little more relaxed and who knows while moving the stuff you may spot a common interest to help you become mates.
Open Door & Personal Space
When you’re in your room keep the door open – by keeping your door open, those first days, your new flatmates are more likely to pop their head in and say hello, a closed-door is just that it basically says that you don’t want to speak with anyone. Please, remember to always close your windows and lock your doors when you head out.
But, also remember to Respect personal space, it’s a delicate balance between being helpful and sociable and then being annoying, and this goes for the entire year. Be mindful not to invade people’s privacy, especially during exams and major coursework deadlines.
Communication is key to living in a harmonious household, there will always be instances when you or your housemate annoy each other, it is important to not let these moments fester and become bigger issues. When issues arise, note them down, organise regular house meetings and encourage each housemate to do the same, then have an open and honest discussion about issues and boundaries to resolve them peacefully, it may be that your housemate is unaware of the behaviour causing you a problem.
Dealing with Issues
It is ok to feel overwhelmed in a busy household, especially during Covid lockdowns this can be particularly tough to deal with. Spending time on your wellbeing can reduce stress and help you cope with the tribulations of shared living. Practising forgiveness is a positive way to address conflict and can help you work through negative emotions. With honest and open communication your household can build a trusting and collaborative living space, one which you can flourish within.
You won’t get on with everyone
Its very rare to get on with everyone you live with if you do that’s awesome, but reality is there’s always going to be those moments where you clash or just can’t relate to someone.
Forgive others’ mistakes – For many of you moving into your student accommodation is the first foot into adulthood, people are still learning and adjusting to a new lifestyle, so try and be considerate, not everyone’s going to get it right straight away.
Avoid the temptation to talk behind others backs – There’s nothing worse than that passive-aggressive atmosphere if you find yourself living with someone who’s making things tricky, talk it out with them. Ignoring the situation will never result in it ‘sorting itself out’ and could result in a nasty passive-aggressive atmosphere.
If things get really out of hand, or you feel you can’t deal with it yourself, talk to your building reception team.
Top tips for sharing with others
Here is how get the best from your living space while sharing with others is by setting boundaries. Some ways you can do that is by the following ways:
How much time do you wish to spend with others? Ensuring your housemates or family understand when you wish to be left alone can ease living pains and create a safe space for you to decompress
Let your housemates or family know which space you would like to keep personal and private, this will help avoid misunderstandings.
Are there any topics that are off limits, let people know that certain subjects upset you and you do not wish to speak about, raise these so people can be more aware and sensitive.
Are there certain things you do not wish to do or be subject to? Do you indulge in offbeat hobbies that may upset your housemates? Then let your other housemates know, this can help avoid conflict points and increase understanding.