How to survive living with complete strangers

I’ve managed it for a whole year (just)


When a university lumps you into halls, with five other people you haven’t met before, can the outcome ever be positive? I’ve spent my first year at uni in a house with eight other first years. As was clear very early on (the day I moved in), we weren’t placed together by any match.com-esque test of compatibility.

Don’t stand out straight away

Easiest way to get people hating you

You have to walk the fine line of being completely introverted and completely extroverted. If you do anything naughty in the first couple of weeks, (e.g stealing some bread off someone, or leaving all your dirty dishes in the sink) you cannot afford to get caught.

Never be the first person to fuck up, you’ll become a scapegoat and look like a right plonker.

Remember nothing is communal

It’s like I was never here

If you use nothing of anyone else’s, eat nothing of anyone else’s, and touch nothing of anyone else’s, no one should be able to say anything negative about you. This only works providing you clean up after yourself in the kitchen and the communal areas. Dull, I know, but a small price for not being bitched about when you’re at a lecture.

Be a team player

Marigolds maketh the man

Or, more accurately, prove you’re a team player. To do this, force-feed the idea to your flatmates as frequently as possible. Pop back from Asda at peak time when everyone else is in the kitchen making dinner. Casually place down your bags and inform them you bought two new washing up brushes and some actual Fairy liquid, instead of the Lidl own-brand rubbish.

They’ll all be so impressed and grateful, you’ll be able to get away with not taking the bins out for a few days.

Think before you do anything

If you’re about to do something you wouldn’t want someone else doing if the situation was reversed, stop immediately. Even something as trivial as putting your food on someone else’s shelf in the fridge should be seriously reconsidered.

Awareness of your own actions means you’ll never be the guy complaining about the fact nobody does the washing up while ashing their cigarette into a dirty beer glass.

Don’t be ‘that’ guy/gal

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St. Paddy’s day is my Christmas

If you stumble home at four in the morning, shouting nonsense about “how fit that girl was” and waking up everyone with a nine o’clock lecture as a result, you’re going to find yourself scowled at in the kitchen the next day.

Also, if you manage to projectile vomit your way down the corridor to your room, no one else is going to want to clean it up and they won’t wait for your hangover to wear off either.

Never insult someone’s cooking

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Charred, not burned, it adds character…

Not everyone arrives at uni capable of cooking a good meal or even opening a tin of beans, so never come into the kitchen, only to peer at the latest monstrosity your housemate calls a meal and tell them it smells burnt/looks disgusting. They won’t like you insulting their cooking skills, and once they’re able to actually cook something decent you’ll never be invited to try it.

Be you

Unless of course you’re someone who does all the things mentioned above on a regular basis in which case no one will like you, ever.