What should I do if I fall out with my housemates?
Student housing causes a lot of stress for University students. Within the first couple months of the academic year, students are rushed to choose flatmates and find a house for the following year. The process can be stressful and daunting. Because of the speed and urgency that come with choosing housemates, you can sometimes be left in situations that are less than ideal. Falling out with housemates can be a challenging experience but it can be helpful to know that you're not alone. To help you navigate the situation we've put together a list of the strategies you can use to address the issue and hopefully reach a positive outcome.
We know it sounds obvious, but the best thing to do in this situation is to talk to your housemates. You won't be able to solve the issue without confronting it. It's normal to feel hesitant or nervous to approach the subject, but it's always better to address the problem sooner rather than later. You might find that it's a case of simple misunderstanding or that your housemates weren't even aware that they were causing you stress or anxiety. Just remember to try and approach the conversation calmly and respectfully, and be prepared to listen to their point of view as well.
If you find that communication alone isn't resolving the issue, you might consider seeking the help of a mediator. Many universities have trained mediators who can facilitate discussions between students in conflict. Mediators are impartial and non-judgmental and can help you identify the underlying issues and work towards finding a resolution that works for everyone.
Sometimes, conflicts arise because people have different lifestyles, habits, or preferences. If you find that you're frequently clashing with your housemates over these types of issues, it may be helpful to set some clear boundaries. For example, if you're a night owl, and your housemate is an early riser, you might agree on quiet hours or find ways to create separate spaces where you can each do your own thing without disturbing the other.
Take care of yourself
Living in a tense or conflictual environment can be stressful and draining. It's not selfish to prioritise your well-being and take care of yourself (physically AND mentally). Make time for activities that help you relax and destress, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies. Consider seeking support from a counsellor or mental health professional if you're struggling to cope.
Consider your options
In some cases, despite your best efforts, the conflict may not be resolved, and it might be time to consider other living arrangements. If you're living in university-owned accommodation, you may be able to request a transfer to a different room or building. If you're renting a private property with your housemates, you might consider finding a new flatmate or looking for a new place to live altogether. To look at the private accommodation available in your city, check out www.accommodationforstudents.com
By communicating, seeking mediation, setting boundaries, taking care of yourself, and considering your options, you can work towards resolving the conflict and finding a positive outcome. Remember that conflicts are a natural part of living with others, but with patience, empathy, and a willingness to compromise, you can create a harmonious living environment. If you’re interested in reading about how to decide who you want to live with, read our blog.