Having a roomate can be testing at the best of times. Unfortunately, these are far from the best of times and as we enter yest another week of lockdown lettings management platform, Howsy, has compiled a number of top tips to help keep roomie relations in positive territory.
1: Give them some space
It can be hard when you’re restricted to your flat or house, particularly if you have no garden, but giving each other space is as important as helping to raise spirits when you’re feeling down.
We all need some time now and then, so one tip is to take your hour of exercise separately and if you like going out together, try exercising separately every other day.
If you like to read, play computer games or listen to music, take it to your room now and then so you’re not constantly hogging any social space.
We all want to keep in touch with loved ones, but if you’re constantly on video chat with your family, you can also do this in your room to give your flatmates some space. Headphones are always an essential in this instance as well, just because you’re behind a closed door it doesn’t mean they can’t hear you and a simple pair of headphones can remove a lot of noise-based tension.
It’s important we stick together and pull each other through this pandemic but sometimes, a little personal space is also required. Just don’t turn into a hermit and never leave your room as this won’t help your personal wellbeing.
2: Noises, smells and hygiene
From cooking to socialising, it’s important to consider your housemate when it comes to the sounds, sights and smells of a locked-down flat.
Discuss breakfast, lunch and dinner with your flatmates. Cooking together can be a great way to improve the social situation, but the constant grilling of meat, fish or cooking of other foods can cause friction if your housemate is vegan, veggie or doesn’t appreciate the strong smells of food they don’t like.
Just because we’re in lockdown it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tidy up after yourself, shower or maintain personal hygiene in the house. A clean house, body and mind will remove a whole host of friction points with your housemates, particularly given the heightened need for hygiene in the current environment.
This also applies to attitudes when leaving the house. Make sure you implement social distancing and if your flatmate would rather you disinfect any objects purchased outside the house, help them out by doing so and washing your hands thoroughly. It’s a small gesture to help them sleep tight even if you aren’t as bothered about it.
It should go without saying, but don’t invite any friends or family over. This increases the risk to you and your flatmates drastically and will cause arguments.
3: Communicate your schedule
For some of us, lockdown means endless days and nights of TV and not much else. However, for some of us, it means business as usual from the comfort of our homes.
So watching films long into the night and early hours of the next morning might be fine for you, but for your flatmate who has a video meeting at 9 am the next day, it’s far from ideal.
This also applies during the day and so communicating your schedules with each other can prevent any annoying distractions. We’re not talking colour-coded wall charts, just a simple conversation at the start of each week or day. If you are at a loose end, why not go the extra mile and see if there is any way you can help out with their workload.
4: Don’t be selfish
Queuing outside your local supermarket, and following one-way signs around the aisles can be a fraught experience. Don’t be the person that keeps using all of the milk or loo roll while relying on your roommate to make the potentially dangerous mission to replace it each time.
Calum Brannan, founder and CEO of Howsy, had this to say: “There have been predictions of a spike in divorce rates due to lockdown measures and with the stress clearly getting to couples, there’s an even higher chance of trouble between those who simply live together.
"The important thing is to remember we’re all in the same situation. Communication is key and more often than not, a simple chat can prevent any issues before they come to the surface.
"Be respectful, think about others and do your best to help each other out. If you do, you’ll find lockdown a whole lot easier and worst-case scenario, you realise you and your roomie aren’t meant to be and you can move out when it does all blow over.”