Agony aunt: I’m afraid of not getting on with my flatmates. What should I do if we don’t click at all?

When moving to university, one of the many things students bring with them is expectations, and often one of these expectations is that they’ll get along with the people they’ll be living with for the next year. Most students will indeed hit it off with their flatmates, but inevitably some will find that no matter how hard they try, they just aren’t compatible. If this happens to you, don’t fret! Let me reassure you from personal experience that you will make great friends at uni and that there is a way of living in a pleasant flat even if you don’t click with your roomies.

I remember panicking in my first year because I didn’t get on with my flatmates like I had hoped, and thinking to myself, ‘how am I going to live like this for a year?!’ After telling family and friends about my predicament, I often got the reply, ‘at least give them a chance.’ Their advice, I pass on to you.

Before completely opting out, reflect on your situation, and whether or not your assessment of your flatmates is fair. First impressions can be deceiving, and judging someone based on a mere week or two of interactions is unreasonable. Especially during Freshers week students will be nervous, emotional and putting up pretences to try to impress others. Give your flatmates a proper chance. Make the effort, get to know them, ask about their interests and they may actually surprise you!

If, despite your best efforts, a friendship with your flatmates isn’t salvageable, remind yourself that there are other people at the university. There are tons of other ways to make friends! Joining societies is a sure-fire way to meet people with the same interests as you and befriending people on your course will at the very least make boring lectures much more tolerable.

‘But I still have to live with my flatmates’, you say. Well if you act early enough, you might just find someone willing to do a room or accommodation swap with you. Otherwise, strive to create an at least civil living space and avoid the situation I found myself in – living in an environment where petty arguments were the norm. One of my flat’s favourite pastimes was leaving passive-aggressive notes and text messages for each other, but then completely ignoring each other in person.

If you’re having disagreements, have a serious conversation with your flatmates. Air all of your concerns – whether it be noise levels while you’re trying to sleep or the borrowing of belongings without permission – and come to a compromise. You don’t have to be best friends, but be fair and respectful towards each other. It’s only for a year, which believe it or not, goes by very quickly.

Hannah Grant

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