This is why we all fall out with our second year flatmates, according to a therapist

It’s a rite of passage at this point

Ah, second year. You’ve finally broken free from the confines of university accommodation and are free to pick who you want to live with. What could go wrong? Well, as most of us know, a lot.

From a complete breakdown in communication, to leaving their dishes unwashed for weeks on end, to never paying the rent on time, second year housemates can cause a multitude of problems.

And even if your flatmate decides to move out halfway through second year, that can cause even more issues. Bella from Edinburgh University told us how her flatmate moved to live with her cousin in second year but refused to let another student live in the flat, stopped paying rent and even tried to steal all of the deposit. Nightmare.

We wanted to know the psychological reason why so many fall-outs happen with your second year flatmates, and asked psychotherapist and CEO of Therapy Guide Floss Knight why it’s such a common occurrence.

Why do we fall out with our flatmates?

Floss tells The Tab that whilst “university can be an incredibly exciting time” it can also be very “daunting”.

For many students, it will be their first time living away from home, a realisation that often doesn’t sink in until the end of first year. As a result, “pressures ramp up and friendships become fractured” meaning that “living situations can become strained.”

How can we avoid falling out with your flatmates?

Floss tells The Tab that when living with different people, “it’s important to establish boundaries of personal space” and recommends “communicating openly with your housemates about any niggles.”

She adds that “bottling it up” will only lead to further feelings of resentment, and they might not even be aware that their behaviour is upsetting you. Floss says: “Having an awareness of others and being empathetic is paramount.”

Why is falling out with your second year flatmates so common?

Learning to live with people who are different from us “is a process”. Floss says that “it’s not uncommon for housemates to bicker”, from the “one who leaves their dishes in the sink”, to “the one whose boyfriend always leaves the toilet seat up” and reminds us that it’s “understandable that the small stuff starts getting under our skin.”

She ends with sage advice that “it’s good to try and remember that your uni experience won’t last forever” and that “ultimately, the petty things won’t matter in the long run – you probably won’t even remember them.”

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