By Lucy Beresford, psychologist and ambassador of flatsharing network Weroom
Recently there has been a huge increase in the number of people living in rented accommodation across the British Isles. There were 2.5 million people renting a decade ago, now there are 4.8 million. Another 1.1 million are predicated to join the rental sector over the next five years.
With this in mind, more of us than ever need to live with other people, often strangers. You don’t want to feel like an outsider in your home, live with someone messy or share a flat with heavy metal fans…when you like R & B.
So in order to assist “Generation rent” to workout the perfect flatmate formula, flatsharing network Weroom polled 1,000 British households to find that a collective 42 per cent of men and women think the ideal makeup of a flatshare is two boys and two girls, suggesting that a balanced household is the perfect formula for flatsharing bliss.
In terms of habits people hope to avoid, over half (57 per cent) said they dread living with people that never assist with cleaning duties, with 33 per cent finding its strenuous to live with people that use obscenities and are generally offensive.
Top 10 flatmate types that damage our psychological states:
- People that never help with cleaning
- People that are crude and offensive
- People that have irritating friends
- People that play their music too loud
- People that bring random partners into the house
- People that don’t have intelligent things to say
- People that like to prank their flatmates
- People that are overly obsessive about cleaning
- People that never cook or share their food
- People that are attractive but won’t sleep with their roommate
These are my top tips in the quest to find the perfect flatmate formula
Easy going and entertaining housemates can be a pick me up
Stat: Having fun is clearly an important factor to a flatshare, with 46% also claiming that they valued roommates that made them laugh the most.
Tip: Having a good sense of humour, being playful or spontaneous really adds value to a household. Being a fun person can help diffuse any tension and can also make flatmates look forward to going home after a full day at Uni or at work, because the atmosphere is known to be positive and enjoyable. But obviously, try to find flatmates who share your sense of humour. As they say, regular laughter may help to extend your lifespan!
Make sure you can have some alone time
Stat: 53% of respondents say that flatmates that are rarely in are good flatmates as you have more time to yourself.
Tip: It’s great if you can have time to yourself in your flatshare, either to catch up on personal chores or just to unwind after a hectic period at work or socialising. So flatmates who are independent and who enjoy leading their own lives or aren’t constantly hanging around in the kitchen are very appealing. At the same time, make sure you aren’t the clingy one who is always in all the time and pestering your friends to join in with your activities, or one that expects your flatmate to provide your social life for you. Everyone needs breathing space and time to unwind and that applies to your flatmates!
Keeping the flat clean and tidy is important
Stat: Proving that Monica from US sitcom ‘Friends’ would actually be a hit with British flatsharers, half of respondents (50%) said they value people that clean regularly, the most.
Tip: Living in a clean home does wonders for your general health and it can also make you feel safe and looked after, which can be very comforting. As they say: tidy house, tidy mind. For the Boomerang generation, it may feel a bit like living with your mother, but hopefully without the nagging! No one likes to live in a messy home, and most people aren’t too keen on cleaning, so it’s no wonder that most want to live with an obsessive cleaner. It shows respect both for one’s surroundings and also for the people who share your space with you as well as generally increasing the standard of living.
Living with children
Stat: 64% of men would not live with small children not related to them (disproving the Joey situation from Friends).
Tip: People feel very differently about other people’s children compared to how they feel about their own. Most people have children when they feel ready, so it’s understandable that many men don’t fancy living with children that aren’t theirs – they simply aren’t at that stage in life yet. And remember, even if you like certain children you know, children take up a lot of time, so there’s a huge difference between seeing them occasionally and living with them all the time. Best advice is don’t be pressured into this situation – you might end up being used as an unpaid baby-sitter!
Earning the same wage is often important to avoid problems
Stat: 46% of flatsharers prefer to live with people that earn the same wage bracket as themselves.
Tip: Money can be a source of great conflict and people are acutely conscious if one of their group starts earning more money or has a lack of money. The ideal situation is to flatshare with people who are at a similar stage in life, such as all at University or all just starting work. That way there should be fewer opportunities for someone flashing the cash, causing resentment, or always being skint which can be equally frustrating when other people want to socialise or get the rent paid on time.
Whether or not to ‘hook’ up with a flatmate?
Stat: 45% of men would strongly consider hooking up with a flatmate, compared to only a quarter (25%) of women who said the same.
Tip: Flatshare romances might seem lovely because you have got to know the person extremely well by living at close quarters before starting a romance. Casually hooking up can be convenient and exciting, but it won’t be stable unless made official. But even then, other flatmates might feel uncomfortable, which can cause tension. And then there’s the “what happens if you ever split up” situation – it can get very messy, so best not to leap into something too soon.
Messy flatmates can cause stress!
Stat: 64% of women get frustrated with people that are messy and never help with cleaning the house, this compared to 48% of men who thought the same.
Tip: It’s important to treat your living environment with respect and that means contributing regularly to the cleaning and tidying. This also means you’re treating your flatmates with respect, by not treating them as your servants and the flat as a hotel. So no wonder so many people feel aggrieved when flatmates don’t pull their weight with household chores. Deep down, we all wish we could be looked after by a parent-figure but doing the cleaning is a sign of being mature and recognising that some tasks have to be done even when they’re not very pleasant (like cleaning the loo!). The best solution to keep a steady ship is to set up a cleaning rota. Failing that, group together to pay for a cleaner and eliminate the worry.
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