Flatmates from Hell
It’s week five and you’re rapidly approaching the halfway point of your first semester at university. The spritely exuberance of your first couple of weeks may have long abandoned you, or perhaps you’re still clinging on and going on nights out just as much as you did during Freshers’ Week. Either way, the overwhelming odds are that you’ve started to have problems with at least one of your flatmates. In week one you thought they were your new best pals, but as the weeks have drawn on their little habits and snipey comments have amounted to a full blown grudge, and bitching circles may have started to form.
In terms of first year flatmates, I definitely drew the short straw. Naturally, when moving into a flat with four other people you’ve never met before, you tell yourself not to make snap judgements about any of your new flatmates. I know a lot of people who really did become great friends with their flatmates, so I genuinely went in with an open mind.
The first thing one of my new flatmates said to me when I met her was “I can’t be friends with somebody who doesn’t do a sport”. Well that’s me screwed then, I thought while trying to come across as amiable as possible. I drag myself to the gym a handful of times a week but I am by no means heavily involved with a specific sport, team or society, so this one was a dud from the off. She immediately scoured our social media for, what I can only assume was, evidence of whether not we would be suitable friends for her. After this first day, she promptly ignored me for the following nine months. To be honest with you, this was no skin off my back and actually a relatively convenient arrangement for the both of us. We only occasionally bumped into one another in the kitchen, where my attempts to ask how her day was were either drowned out by her slamming cupboard doors and pots around, or straight up ignored.
One of my other flatmates, however, did things ranging from hiding my cooking oil to lying about grades whilst simultaneously berating me for mine. She even trashed my bedroom when I’d spent ages tidying it (yes, really). In fact, the situation with this specific flatmate escalated to the unfortunate point where we were no longer on speaking terms long before our move out date. There were nights where her behaviour would leave both me and my only friend in that flat too scared to sleep without our bedroom doors locked and the lights on. The only way I can contextualise such an extreme reaction is by explaining that one night she cornered the two of us on a bed, hissing at us and refusing to let us get up by lurching at us when we tried (again, yes really). This behaviour, which ranged from lying, manipulation, snap aggression to the downright peculiar, definitely exacerbated feelings of homesickness and loneliness. Feelings that are already common problems for first years without psychopathic flatmates.
If you thought that was bad enough (side note, it was), another of our flatmates came into the kitchen one evening, screaming at us when we asked her to simply take her turn to take out the rubbish. She screeched that she would not deign to touch our “filthy pizza boxes” and proceeded to imitate us by making baby noises. This particular flatmate also used to pass comment and turn her nose up at our “unhealthy” food whilst grilling her asparagus most evenings. Really, who eats healthy in first year?! Anyway, after taking out the rubbish yet again, we resigned ourselves to the reality that we had been placed in a flat with people who we were simply wholly incompatible with. A flat in which we felt uncomfortable to fully utilise or “live” in, in any real sense of the word.
So, take it from me, your first year flatmates can become your best friends, but they can also become your enemies. That doesn’t make you a social failure or a bad person. On a more comforting note, before you know it you’ll be moving out of your first year halls and able to say good riddance to anyone who may be causing you problems at the moment. Now that I’m in fourth year I have a whole group of friends I couldn’t have even imagined from the confinement of my first year bedroom, and those nightmare flatmates are nothing but a strange, unsettling memory.