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3TS Blog

Houseshares: Managing Conflict

Is Housesharing becoming a Chore?

With housing at a premium, more of us are turning to house and flat-shares as an economical option, but, these arrangements can often throw light on differences in how we live, our behaviour and how we manage a household.  Plus, with soaring rents and property prices, house-shares can often extend far beyond their best-before date.  All of which can lead to conflict.

So what can you do to manage this?

3Ts have teamed up once again with friendship platform, GirlCrew, to explore how to resolve conflict between housemates. Psychotherapist and 3Ts Mental Health Co-ordinator, Clare O’Brien, joins Girl Crew’s, Ci, and offers sound advice, based on common sense and answers viewers questions in our video,”How to Share a House and not end up Sharing a Cell”

In the video Clare explores ways to mitigate against conflict from day one, with both practical and novel ways to lay down ground rules on matters including finance, chores, and general behaviour but also looking at how to tackle some of the more common causes of conflict, such as visitors, sexual relations, anti-social behaviour etc.  Meanwhile, here are some of our top tips to ensure the smooth running of your house-share.

Set Ground Rules

  • Have a house meeting and agree to some house rules and a charter of rights.  This is a great place to start.
  • Agree to a chore wheel or pick an area that each housemate is responsible for. Usually, gross jobs like bins and bathrooms should get rotated amongst housemates, unless you live with someone who prefers that to doing the dishwasher (if you find this person never let them go).
  • You can also draw up a housemate agreement regarding payment of bills, rent, etc. There are loads of  these templates online. Be sure that every housemates reads, agrees, signs and dates the document. Renew it every year with the rental contract and with new incoming housemates.

The Basics (because sometimes the obvious needs to be said)

  • Don’t steal your housemate’s food/drink.
  • Don’t play loud music at 3 am.
  • It’s not a good idea to have loads of friends/family members stay over without checking it with your housemates first.
  • This includes your partner staying for more than two days/nights in a row.
  • If you’re in a bad mood, try not to take it out on the others – go for a walk instead, easier said than done sometimes.
  • However, arguments occur and that’s ok too. It can be over big things like politics and chores to small things like toilet seat positions and gone off milk.

How to resolve potential conflict

Here’s some tips for dealing with issues before they get out of hand:

  • Deal with issues ASAP. If you don’t, they’ll build-up and could cause a total housemate melt down.
  • Deal with conflict face-to-face. Don’t write passive aggressive notes on food, light switches, dirty dishes, etc. If you’re old enough to live independently, you’re old enough to talk about your grievances.
  • Be sure to pick a good time and place, maybe not straight after work or during a night out in the pub.
  • Allow time to talk it out, so don’t spill your guts before work in the morning.
  • Plan ahead when planning an argument.  Make sure you know the causes of your unhappiness and stick to that. Don’t go off topic, be polite and use “I” statements.
  • Hear your housemate out. There may be things going on in their life that have needed more attention than chores or food shopping. If this in this case, then be a little understanding for a time.

Finally, look to yourself and your behaviour.  None of us is perfect and there’s always room for improvement, even for the best of housemates.