We all have to do it, we all think it majoritivley sucks, but we all have to do it at some point in time. Living in a big city, between jobs, working on personal ventures or couch surfing around the world; there will always be a time you have to live in close quarters with people you’d not choose to hang out with normally.

But if you get to know them you just might find a friend for life. Based on my experiences, travels and awkward social interactions here are my top 10 tips for surviving shared accommodation.

Put your damned pants on

So often I find my current housemate without pants on. Just be aware that various cultures and kinds of person behave in very different ways, use your bedroom for semi-naked-chill-time, use the shared spaces for chill-with-pants-on-time.

Food cures all

As soon as you move in, figure out dietary requirements, buy some beers or wine and cook up a storm for the new housemates. This is a tried and tested technique to guarantee that by 10pm the whole house will love you… the booze always helps too!

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Respect people’s space

Just like you and the rest, we aren’t all the same. We all need space and we all need that space to be respected. Never head into someone elses room unannounced, never head into the bathroom while they shower (seriously, this has happened so many times to me).

Respecting space is paramount.

Keep it quiet

I live in Barcelona and everyone works strange hours, always respect the peace of the apartment at all times. Don’t throw a party unannounced and don’t just bring home the office without letting your housemates know. We all need a place to live that is our own peaceful island.

Don’t steal my God damned food!

And I won’t steal your God damned food either! I have lived with so many food pilferers in the past and it’s the biggest annoyance when you come home drunk to find that amazing pizza missing or that you’re out of cereal in the morning. Don’t steal food!

Be honest

Did your shower gel go missing again? Has someone eaten your jam? Did they bring back six friends at 2am for a party? Don’t bottle it up, be honest and open as soon as you have an issue to avoid further problems down the line.

Too many times does a simple issue turn into a deep resentment from not speaking your mind.

Pay the bills on time, every time

It seems simple, right? Make sure you pay what you need to pay as soon as you need to pay it. No late rent means no issues… oh, and always get a receipt, just in case.

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Embrace and celebrate common ground

Everyone likes a cold beer after a long day, why not treat your housemates to a beer once in a while then? They will love you for it and a few beers costs almost nothing.

Take time to find out people’s takes in music or film too, do a little research and engage them in chat. You’ll learn things, they will respect your efforts and will do the same for you.

Wash your pots

Seriously, why do so many people not get this? Cook a meal, eat a meal, wash the dishes, it’s so simple yet so often ignored. I hate nothing more than a long day at work and then arriving home to a sink full of pots to clean BEFORE I even cook a meal.

Learn to respect shared space

Sure having one shelf in the fridge and one cupboard for your food is a pain, I know that having a half shelf to keep your toiletries on is annoying too but everyone has the same space. Respect that shared space and ask permission before taking someone elses.

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Follow these simple steps and you’ll be fine. Take the time to get to know your housemates and respect the dynamic you have and you’ll really enjoy your time together and who knows, you may even find a new amazing best friend!

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