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Seven ways of dealing with terrible flatmates

Turn down the music, turn up the drama


A key part of uni life is living in close proximity to complete strangers. They can be noisy, messy, aggressive or just lazy – which makes the whole "shared living" thing impossible. After a term with a terrible flatmate, your cushy County townhouse can begin to look like one of those crack dens from Breaking Bad.

No need to worry, as everybody is now back from the new year, here are seven ways of dealing with those monsters that you’re living with. Better to live with the devil you know, than the devil you don't.

Establish rules and a rota

Nobody likes to be lawmaker, but if your flat is starting to look more like a garbage dump than student accommodation, you need some ground rules.

For some, this is a first time living independently from their parents, so it's no shock when they use hand soap as washing up liquid. Establishing basic rules regarding sink usage and noise levels will keep these domestic bambis on track. Three cheers for a system that works!

Except that it doesn't. The rules break down as soon as someone realises that nobody will enforce them. Cue a forgotten rota and several arguments about the different values of taking out each bin.

Passive-aggressive post-it notes

Useful against phantom flatmates, post-it-notes are also great due to their anonymity. It's not just a small piece of paper – it's psychological warfare. Stick one anywhere and people will feel like they are being watched.

All in all, post-it-notes are fun little reminders which do actually work. That is, until they are a few weeks old and begin to get mouldy.

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Flat meetings

Calling a successful flat meeting is serious 'big dick energy'. However, we're not sure successful flat meetings actually exist. You’ll either end up agreeing on a set of rules that will be forgotten, or your 'organised discussion' will turn nastier than a royal family gathering.

Whatever happens, do not call for a vote. If it is done ‘by a show of hands’, the coercive electoral process will make Russia look like an exemplary democracy. Whereas, if it's done by ‘ballot' you will be shocked by the level of obscenities one can fit on a tiny piece of lined paper: “I’m not sure what this crudely drawn penis is in favour of”.

Move out

Pretty drastic, but maybe these aren’t the right people. They may be really nice, but not being friends with your flatmates can be quite demoralising.

If it is the right thing to do, go to your Accommodation Manager or Well-Being Advisor, and you’ll be living somewhere new in no time.

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Get extreme

Subterfuge is the name of the game. Of course we're not endorsing anything that is detrimental to physical or emotional health, but let's talk hypothetically.

Go full ‘Godfather’ and leave a horse’s head in their bed.

Love animals or just don’t have one handy? Why not sneak into their room and write something on their mirror. Make them think that their loud music has pissed off the supernatural. Obviously these things are technically 'illegal' and shouldn’t be practiced but, as it says in the Bible, “Thee who do not flush thine communal toilet, kind of deserve it.”


The most effective way to change bad flatmate behaviour.

Nothing beats one-on-one communication. It may be scary, but it works. Make sure you aren’t too preachy or aggressive and the point will come across. People may be nasty, but they’re also very nice.

There might even be something that you do weird. Nobody's perfect.

Write an article about them

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Yeah forget all that stuff about being a decent human being and talking over your problems. The best thing to do is vent. Vent anywhere. To your friends, your flatmates, the ducks, or maybe even in an article.

Personally, terrible flatmates are a great topic for conversation. Be an interesting person? No thanks, I’d rather bitch about my flatmates so that people think I’m cool and have principles.

Here's hoping that tomorrow my bed will be free of any equestrian parts.