A beginner’s guide to housemate etiquette

A beginner’s guide to housemate etiquette

Here’s how to get on with the people you live with.

Wear headphones

Always. If you’re playing Side to Side by Ariana Grande on repeat, if you’re smashing Liberty City to pieces in Grand Theft Auto, or if you’re binge watching 13 Reasons Why in the lead-up to season two. What’s entertaining to you is not going to entertain your housemates through the wall.

Wear earplugs

There’s a special kind of rage when you’ve been kept up all night by the clumsy sex of your neighbour (or their Side to Side sing-along). It’s the kind of rage that you’ll find a way to express (“accidentally” locking them out when they go to hang out their washing, say) that won’t be beneficial to household happiness. Do yourself  a favour by wearing earplugs every night.

Wear clothes

It’s a summer night at 4am. No one could possibly be awake right now. You do a nudie run to the bathroom at the exact moment that your housemate steps out of their room to farewell their Tinder date/get a glass of water/start their CrossFit routine. The awkwardness of these encounters lasts for much longer than the time it takes to throw on a dressing gown.

Don’t wear out your welcome

Try not to hang around the house all day and hog the communal spaces. This doesn’t mean you have to cringe in the shadows and hide in your room. But it does mean that if there’s four people in the house, you shouldn’t spend more than a quarter of waking hours with a) your books and study notes sprawled all over the kitchen table, b) your limbs sprawled all over the couch in the front of the TV, c) your clothes in the dryer, d) your arse on the toilet while you catch up on a month’s worth of Instagram posts.

Where are your dishes?

I could write an entire book just on this. There tends to be three main approaches to doing this badly, from least to most offensive: a) dirty dishes and cutlery stacked in precarious piles in your bedroom in places that can’t be seen from your open bedroom door, leaving housemates to wonder where all the forks went, b) dirty dishes stacked beside the sink, or worse, “soaking” in the sink in week-old fetid water, c) scattered all over the house, sprinkled in care-free patterns that demonstrate the favourite locations and sitting positions of the offender.

As a reformed grot, I can say that the only solution to this is to wash your dishes immediately after you’ve finished eating, without thinking twice. Because as soon as you’ve hesitated, your brain has time to think of the million things you’d rather do.


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