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The 5 types of flatmate you WILL encounter (and how to handle them...)

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One of the greatest joys of flatsharing is the different people you’ll meet, live with and form lasting friendships with (hopefully). But that doesn’t mean that they will be without their unqiue quirks.

Here are some of the different flatmates you’ll probably encounter when you sign that tenancy agreement and get settled into that brand new share, and how to handle their individual personality traits. NB: you might find you probably fit into one of these categories too…

Meticulously organised, The House Mum is probably the person who set up your bills, got the Wi-Fi installed and arranged a cleaning rota… before anyone has even moved in. The House Mum has many great organisational qualities, is a great source of general life advice and usually makes a brilliant shoulder to cry on in times when you’re missing your actual mum. Just watch they don’t get a little too controlling ­– they’re not your real parent, thus shouldn’t get too big a say in important life matters including: your career, your love life, and how regularly you should be cleaning your bedroom.

How to handle them:

The House Mum may assume that their big role in the house means that they are more entitled than other housemates to potential privileges like TV dominance, a bigger bedroom or dining table usage for their own dinner parties. It’s worth a gentle reminder every now and then that a flatshare means sharing, and while you’re grateful for their leadership with practical matters, you’re more than happy to take some of the load too.

You’ll be on your way out of the house, or just trying to relax in bed, when someone bursts in to share that juicy nugget of information about so-and-so they just couldn’t wait to tell you… Yep, that will be your resident Gossip, at it again. Most houses will have one. Their knowledge of everyone and everything can come in handy at times (i.e. when MailOnline has gone down for the day/you want the inside scoop on what your other flatmate did last night) but be warned – you may devote precious hours of your life listening to their tales, and there’s always the risk that one day you’ll be the subject of their gossiping…

How to handle them:

The golden rule when dealing with The Gossip is to avoid showing too much of a reaction, as this will probably become part of their gossip to someone else later. If you show that you’re not really that phased by hearing rumours about other people, they might stop using you as an outlet for their spreading too.

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It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, you’ll always hear The Party Animal rolling in during the small hours of the night – and that’s without all the times they’ll probably forget their keys and wake you up with their persistent banging, followed by a passing waft of chicken nuggets and garlic mayo. The Party Animal will also exhibit an alarming ability to get up and go to work on time the following day, possibly due to their bottomless stash of Berocca and 5-minute-shower skills.

How to handle them:

The drawback of The Party Animal is that they’ll either a) insist on you partying with them, or b) wake you up when they bring themselves (and the party) home. If it all gets a bit much and you’re sick of the sleepless nights and rotting kebabs in the kitchen, have a quiet word with them and ask if they’d mind keeping the party in the bar with them. Or better still, taking it back to someone else’s flat. Try to keep up with them at your peril. Nobody can handle that much tequila…

Have you ever seen them move from the sofa? Or offer to help you clean the kitchen? No, of course you haven’t ­– because the Ultimate Slob is as the Ultimate Slob does. More often than not they’ll be skint, and likely on your back a lot to ‘borrow a fiver’ that you may never see again. On a hangover, the Ultimate Slob may not even leave their room for the entirety of a day and they are most likely to be found in their Ultimate Sloth uniform: trackies and a stained T-shirt. When it comes to communal cleaning or tasks requiring any energy expenditure, approach the Ultimate Slob with due caution. You may be disturbing their nap, after all.

How to handle them:* *

Sure, their lack of input is probably going to wear thin eventually, so when you’d appreciate their help cleaning or just would generally like their (awake) company, be sure to ask tactfully. Adding an incentive to your proposition may help to, i.e. “I’d be so grateful if you helped me take the bins out, how about we share a pizza tonight to say thanks?” In time, this may also help them realise the error of their slothy ways.

Heard a door slam, but confident you were the only one in the house? Don’t worry, you’re not haunted – that’s just the Ghost up to their old tricks again. That phantom flatmate that nobody actually ever sees can scare the life out of you at times, but their ghostly tendencies also mean they’re spotlessly clean, will consistently tidy up behind themselves and won’t ever make excess noise on a weeknight. In some ways, they’re a model flatmate.

How to handle them:

I mean, it would probably be nice if you could be friends. Don’t bulldoze your way into the Ghost’s space – taking a soft approach will build a better friendship in the long run. If you spot them out of their room, try and make passing conversation e.g. “Oh, is that Brie you’ve got in that sandwich? That’s my favourite kind of cheese, I went to this amazing cheese shop the other day…” Soon you may find the Ghost comes out of their shell (and bedroom).

At the end of the day, every flatmate can have their difficult moments so communication is key. Being upfront and honest with them early on can stop characters from getting out of control, ultimately creating a more harmonious home for you all.

With over 80,000 flats and flatmates available on SpareRoom you’ve got a great chance of finding a living situation that works for you first time round.


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