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5 Lessons FRIENDS taught us about having flatmates

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This year FRIENDS is celebrating 30 years since the show first aired. Times may have changed, but surprisingly, the highs and lows of renting and living with flatmates haven’t all that much.

Don’t believe us? We’ve put together a list of 5 lessons we’ve learnt from FRIENDS about having flatmates that still remain true in 2024:

1. Sometimes strangers make the best flatmates

Does anyone remember that Monica and Pheobe used to live together? Nope, us either. That's because it was very short-lived as Phoebe decided to move out for the sake of salvaging their friendship. While you and your bestie might see eye-to-eye on most things, when it comes to being able to spill spaghetti on sofa cushions without it being a big deal, you may quickly realise that you aren’t so compatible when it comes to living together. According to a SpareRoom poll, 55% of renters agreed that strangers made the best flatmates - that’s over half! Take Joey and Chandler for example. The pair set the bar for on-screen bromances, yet they met and became flatmates through a newspaper advert.

2. Make sure you and your flatmate are compatible before you move in

It’s a good idea to get to know your prospective flatmate(s) a little first to make sure you’re compatible. Shortly after Chandler asks Eddie to be his flatmate, he discovers they have nothing in common; Eddie hates Baywatch, sports, and dehydrates fruit for fun. Don’t make the mistake Chandler did and ask someone to be your flatmate on a whim in the supermarket. Whether you’re looking for a best friend or someone just to share the occasional beer with, try and find someone who’s on the same wavelength as you.

3. Don’t bring home an unexpected household pet

Adopting a baby chick may seem like a good idea at the time, but in actuality, there are a lot of things to consider - from deciding whose responsibility they are, to ensuring you have the time and space to accommodate an animal in your home. Getting a pet is something you should run past your flatmates (and landlord) before you decide to bring one home. But if everyone is on board, why not get a duck too?

4. Set boundaries on what household items are shared

Making it clear what’s shared within a household can get a little blurry, especially if you’ve become good friends with your flatmates. To quote Joey, “Why can't we use the same toothbrush, but we can use the same soap?”. For ease and financial reasons, you may decide to split the cost or take it in turns buying things like shower gel or coffee. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that your flatmates will want to share everything with you! And, FYI, toothbrushes are always off-limits.

5. Never refuse your flatmate's offer to cook for you

One of the perks of having flatmates is the occasional offer of having dinner cooked for you, or to help yourself to leftovers. Unfortunately, some of us have flatmates with the culinary skills of Rachel Green - not Gordon Ramsey. And sometimes that means saying yes to a beef trifle, even if we can barely stomach it. Receiving the offer to be cooked for is a gesture of friendship, and is often a bonding experience between flatmates. So do yourself a favour and always say yes. There’s always time later on to gently suggest some cooking tips.

There's a reason why FRIENDS remains a cultural phenomenon years later, and it’s not because of the questionable haircuts and (slightly) outdated comedy. Finding the right flatmates beats living alone - especially when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month
or even your year…*


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