How to survive a nightmare housemate as a Notts student
Just a year and then it’s over…
The nightmare housemate is not for the weak. Most houses have one, and all have heard of one. It’s the one person in the house that just doesn’t get on with anyone. They don’t clean the kitchen, don’t do the bins. They clog up the drain with their hair after showering and set off the fire alarm with their cooking, yet you still cut them some slack at first, firing polite “can you remember to take the bins out x” messages on the group chat.
Living in a shared house can be a really hard adjustment and it can make first-year halls look like a luxury in comparison. There’s nothing you can do about it now, but here are some survival tips that will hopefully make it a bit more manageable:
Clear your head with a walk
It’s not about what your nightmare housemate does to you- it’s what they can do for you. If you look at the positive side of things, your intense need to escape from them will give you the motivation to get out of your bed and go and get your 10,000 steps a day in. When you feel yourself about to snap, put on some sad music and get your walk on. You can use this time to reflect on the situation at home with a clear head so that you will be able to resolve any issues without resorting to uncontrollable rage. You can also use the time to go on a hot girl walk and explore the local beauty spots of Nottingham.
If you don’t have the energy to go on a walk but really need to escape the house, you can always take yourself or your friends to a nice coffee shop. Popular places include Avocafe, Cartwheel Coffee and 200 Degrees Coffee Shop.
Make a cleaning rota
If your nightmare housemate is an avid chore-avoider, a good way to resolve this is by setting up a cleaning chart. That way, house work will be divided equally between all of you so that there will (hopefully) be no more arguments over who’s done the most and least housework.
You should make it big and bright so that it is easy to read and then stick it up in an accessible place in the kitchen so that everyone will remember what chores they must do on any given week. A good way to do it would be to do it on a monthly schedule, so that no one’s stuck cleaning the toilets for weeks on end!
Get some headphones
Is your housemate relentlessly blasting music in the early hours of the night when you have a 9am seminar to get up for? Are they always hosting pres at theirs? Do you have a ground floor room and they’re cooking up a midnight feast in the kitchen every single night? You’re on your last nerve and all your attempts at trying to get them to quieten down have all failed. They don’t listen to the bordering-on-passive-aggressive messages on the group chat and when you try to talk to them about it they’re suddenly in a massive rush to get to a lecture (that you both know doesn’t exist).
Headphones are your friend. You need to invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling, preferably over-the-head, headphones- and you need to do it now. They will be your saviour when you’ve got an important deadline or you just need some white noise to stop you from aggressively confronting your housemate. It’s simple. Just put on some happy music and pretend they don’t even exist- it’s all good!
Decorate your room
Realistically, you won’t be able to avoid being in the house and therefore it is likely that you will be forced to interact with your nightmare housemate and the trail of destruction that follows them everywhere. For the sake of your mental health, you need to have a calming and private space that you can relax in whenever you need to get away.
It’s a good idea to spend time decorating your bedroom, which will hopefully serve as a nice distraction from what is happening right outside your door. You could check when the next poster/plant sale is in Portland to buy a few things for your room. You could also decorate your room with things like fairy lights, books, ornaments, blankets and pillows.
Have a house meeting
If nothing is changing or it’s even getting worse, you should talk to your housemates about it and see if they feel the same way. Make sure that you don’t do this in a malicious or gossip-y way- instead, suggest a house meeting where you can talk calmly about any problems in the house without singling someone out. During the house meeting, definitely don’t gang up on your housemate as this can cause them to feel attacked and therefore create a potentially hostile situation. Instead, suggest things like a chore chart or cleaning rota in a calm way and hope for your sanity that it works.
Check in on them
It may be easy to jump to conclusions and assume that your nightmare housemate is acting this way out of laziness and malice. However, uni can also be a really stressful time and it might be a good idea to maybe check in on them as they might actually be struggling.
They could be homesick or stressed by deadlines and have no idea that what they are doing is negatively affecting everyone in the house. Always remember to be patient and not go straight for confrontation.