Domestic Bliss: Living With Strangers For The First Time At Uni

This is probably the first time you’ve moved out of your home and living in a shared accommodation with complete strangers. It can be both exciting and nerve-wracking living with people that you’ve never met before. As with all happy families, be prepared for the enviable conflicts and drama that will occur from time to time.

Here are some top tips to help get that relationship off to a good start…


Establish boundaries

From the off you need to let your new flatmates know your boundaries. Tell them your pet peeves, what annoys you and the fact that if they eat your last slice of gluten free bread without asking you and they’re not gluten intolerant then they’re bang out of order! Obviously keep it friendly and they’ll appreciate your honestly.


Keep it respectful

Always treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. That’s what your mum taught you right? And that’s what you must do when living with strangers.

Be considerate and don’t use their things without asking. Simple things like knocking on their bedroom door before entering will show that you’re establishing a respectful foundation.


Discuss living expectations

Don’t assume you’ll all have the same expectations. Every person is different; for example, some people won’t mind dirty dishes in the sink while others will freak out.

If you have expectations within the household, share them with your flatmates and explain why it’s an issue. If they’re not comfortable with it then you need to compromise or find another solution. Remember you’re all in this together as a team, so demands won’t work here.


Compromise or find alternative solutions

You can’t always get your way in life. Compromise is sometimes necessary and this will also apply outside of uni life.

Finding that middle ground that allows everyone to be comfortable with a situation is important if you want to live peacefully. If a compromise can’t be reached, an alternative solution may be needed depending on how important or how strongly you feel about the issue.


Make the effort to get to know them

This is obviously a two-way street. Both parties should be making the effort to create a friendship. You don’t need to become BFFs but having a good relationship with the people you share your home with will hopefully mean you encounter fewer issues.

During your first few weeks living together, make the effort to prepare meals together. This will give you a proper chance to talk about each others hobbies, academic interests, where they’re from, family and so on.


Accept your differences

You don’t have to have every single thing in common to get along with your flatmates. It’ll probably be more fun living with people who have different opinions and perspective on things. You can actually learn a lot from your flatmates and they can probably learn a lot from you too. Try to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual rather than compare them to friends you have back home.

Remember that it’s only natural to be anxious and concerned about living with people that you’ve never even met. But keep an open mind in your approach and remember that they probably feel the exact same way. You’re all in the same boat; enjoy the ride, and don’t sink!


Haleema Khokhar. also known as Kimi (a college nickname that stayed). is a journalism graduate working in the world of marketing and freelance writing. She loves animals, dance and a strong cup of tea. Check out her website and Twitter at @MyImpression_ you can also check out her personal Twitter at @KimiKhokhar 

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