The joys of house sharing…

There are many ups and downs to shared housing. Coming home to others at the end of a very long day and being able to have a good moan and a shared drink or two is lovely. You make friends and don’t get judged for your poor dietary choices because chances are the people you live with eat just as badly when not under the watchful eye of a parent or other family members; and you learn to live with the arguments over whose turn it is to take out the bins, buy toilet paper/washing up liquid/bin bags and so on in ad nauseam. However the biggest downside to shared housing I have found, when after finally finding a house where everyone gels, is when one person decides to move out threatening the whole dynamic. So those left behind face the task of finding someone to replace them who is going to fit in, and more importantly, find your stranger habits not too, well, strange.

So, the search starts with an ad placed online. That is the easy bit. The first response I had was from a man shouting the name of the website down the phone at me and apparently unable to articulate any more than that. He received a swift rejection. First impressions are important and I am not going to lie, I am picky about who I live with. And with good reason. I have lived with some horrors before – the 20-something who still behaved like a 16 year old and was better suited to living at home with Mummy around to do everything for her. Not unsurprisingly I was unwilling to step into that role. Or the guy who wouldn’t use the toilet (I wish I were kidding) and chose instead to urinate into a pint glass and then pour it down the kitchen sink. Lovely. When he got caught doing this he decided to pour it out of his bedroom window instead.

Then there was the guy who complained about the house being dirty, yet somehow managing never to lift a finger to clean anything. And then stealing the internet router when the internet got cut off, conveniently forgetting it was he who routinely failed to pay his share of the bill on time which lead to the service provider cutting us off in the first place. There were those who never paid their share of the bill and these examples are not even the worst I have. And not to mention the neighbours. I could go on for a while. Unsurprisingly these experiences left a very bad taste in my mouth and made me desperate to move on, but scared about what sort of place I would end up in next.

Thankfully, I found the perfect housemates who accept and share some of my quirks and habits and don’t have any totally disgusting habits of their own. So you can imagine how much I am not enjoying the experience of looking for someone to move in. The only bonus this opportunity allows is that it puts me in charge of finding the new housemate, and I am not going to accept just anyone. I will be picky, and I don’t care if dismissing someone who uses text speak or just can’t spell in their advert is a shallow way to root out those who would not be suitable. And anyone who says they would be spending most of their time at home, especially during the day during the week immediately makes me suspicious that they just won’t be able to help having a good poke through my belongings. And I realise this is mostly unfounded, unless you grew up with siblings when this was a common thing, so the idea of a stranger doing this is just creepy.

The problem is though, we have a deadline to get a new housemate in by. The process of showing a house is a delicate balancing act. Whilst you want to present a positive image of what it would be like living with you and show that the house and the area you live in is great, you also don’t want to give the person the wrong impression. Actually I am not always this chirpy, and the house is certainly not going to be this clean all the time.

I think when people start looking for their first house share it can be something of a learning curve. You have to hope any illusions given by TV shows such as Friends or New Girl are going to be shattered early on. The reality is that whoever you live with, at some point they are going to really piss you off. You learn quickly to pick your battles, otherwise you will be miserable all of the time. So with all that in mind, here’s to finding the perfect housemate.

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