15 Signs You’ve Been Living With Your Housemates For Too Long
The Debrief: Monitoring the amount of loo roll they use or wearing matching Minions tshirts? It's time to move on
Living on your own is too expensive and finding a romantic partner you can bear to share a bathroom with is near-impossible – for most of us housemates are the superfun and economically viable solution to this problem.
The key is in the second syllable – mates. If the people you live with have become house-foes-so-bad-I-want-to-punch-your-face-in-every-morning-when-you-wake-me-up-grinding-your-effing-special-coffees or house-so-close-everyone-assumes-you’re-lovers-and-to-be-honest-you-don’t-think-there’s-anyone-else-you-could-ever-love-mores, you may have lived with them too long.
I spent almost five wonderful years living with two people I am now lucky to call best mates – our friendship made it out alive. Here’s how to read the signs and get out while you can still save the mates bit.
If you have a routine that is unbreakable to the extent that any other plans are unimaginable, things have probably gone too far. For us, it was Sunday Baileys™, which does what it says on the tin, really. But at one point we had four bottles of Baileys stashed behind the sofa (which in itself, isn’t right, is it?) and the idea of doing anything apart from sitting in my pyjamas on a Sunday night, sipping creamy alcohol seemed brutish. To be honest, I still don’t like doing anything on a Sunday after 6pm – for lots of reasons, but mainly I reckon, because some part of me still thinks I should be sipping slightly curdled (why didn’t we ever put it in the fridge?!) booze and hate-watching Downton.
You know at primary school, there was that set of twins, constantly dressed the same, that one day, overnight went from cute to super-weird? Or that embarrassing set of girls in senior school, who thought they were The Plastics and dressed the same – especially at house parties?
So, when, in your late 20s and 30s, you start deciding it’s REALLY FUNNY/sweet/cool to have a matching outfit with your mates (and always based around something childish, it seems), you’ve stepped over the threshold. For us it was Minions tshirts, which I still don’t regret tbh.
At University, we were a house divided. There was a terrible schism that constantly threatened to end our deep friendship – the temperature of the house. Upstairs, the cold-prone Manchester girls lived in the attic, which wasn’t central heated or insulated. Despite the fact that downstairs we were sweating our arses off, they would be freezing. And knowing our objections, would still literally creep downstairs and crank up the heat. When portable electronic heaters were drafted in to try and save our sanity, electricity bill battles began – having them on 14 hours a day was pretty expensive for students. It was an insurmountable war that was never resolved. And luckily, none of us could be arsed to do MAs.
If you’ve ever uttered the sentence, ‘Seriously, how much loo roll are you using?’ or ‘What are you DOING with it?’ then you’ve lost the plot. You should never, ever be obsessing over how many times someone wraps toilet paper around their hand before wiping their arse with it. Or, as me and my housemates once did, doing the maths to work out how many we were using a day (one a day between seven of us FYI). Get out! (See also: Milk)
184 episodes of your favourite TV show staring at you on your planner, and there’s nothing to watch? You’ve been living together too long. It’s lovely watching TV shows with people, but if there’s more than two of you, and even one of you has a social life, you’re constantly having to wait to catch up (which is where Sunday Baileys comes in TBH). And, frankly, you need to weigh up if you like your housemate more than knowing what everyone is talking about the morning after Game of Thrones has been on. Because that’s really bloody annoying.
There were times when there was no-one I loved more than my housemates, but when there’s genuine confusion about the status of your relationship, it may be time to reconsider some boundaries. Several people I know have had joint Christmas cards from family to them and their ‘partner’. My friends once joked over dinner to one of their mums that they finally had to admit they were in love with each other – and it wasn’t remotely a shock, or unbelievable. If nothing else, someone not laughing at your MEGALOL prank is disappointing.
Moan and groan
I just don’t think anyone should be overly familiar with the noise of someone else having sex. It’s just not nice. Fair enough the odd ‘hilarious’ situation after a night out together, but when you can recognise, accurately recall and impersonate-down-the-pub the sound of your housemate getting down to it, you’ll realise there is such a thing as being too close.
It’s nice that you’re such good friends that you know each other’s routines – and really nice if you can anticipate and work around them. It was a special closeness that allowed me to know that I shouldn’t go to the bathroom for a good 10 minutes after my housemate first thing in the morning, every morning. But if you know it’s your mate’s day to put a wash on, but you run home to get in there first just because it’s time they learned the washing machine isn’t always bloody theirs at 6.45pm on Tuesday, then you may have reached a tolerance threshold.
Having the odd person swipe right for both you and your housemate makes sense, given Tinder is based on geography, and you’re both sat on the couch intently flicking through your phones at the same time. If you’re not getting hardly any matches, perhaps have a quick check that your pictures aren’t all of you and your roomy wearing matching Teenage Mutant Turtle pyjamas/sipping Baileys on the couch. And if you’re on a non-geographically based dating site and the same guys are repeatedly picking you and your mates, because your profiles are so similar, it could be worth a little look on Gumtree… if only to improve your dating prospects. It’s a shallow pool out there.
Temperature wars aside, I loved living with my University housemates so much that I honestly had no objections to the fact that our house had a really bad slug problem. Like, we had to put slug pellets around the kitchen. We would sometimes be watching TV, look down and there was a new trail, complete with slug, appearing on the floor. If you can no longer recognise the squalor you’re living in, because you’d follow your housemate to the damp-covered, mould-breeding, shit-stinking ends of the earth… you’ve gone too far.
Getting into a scrape
You and your housemates are perfect for each other if you can buy a whole block of cheese and hand-on-heart not mind if you only get one chance at eating it before your housemate scoffs it. The minute you inspect the scrape in your budget vegetable spread to see if anyone’s had a go at it since you, or utter the sentence ‘YOU CAN’T BORROW AN ONION, IT’S NOT POSSIBLE. TAKE IT, YOU CAN TAKE IT, BUT I AM JUST SAYING, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO BORROW FOOD’ it’s time to create a sparerooms.com profile.
Taking the piss
If you’ve lived with your housemates long enough, you’ll love them. So when you start taking advantage of them, it’s time to either recognise you’ve become abusive, or move out and start being mates again. I still feel bad about once waking up my housemate at 3am to ask if it was ok to bring three strangers and some mates home to play Singstar… next door to her bedroom. OF COURSE IT WASN’T. If you’ve started taking the piss, intervention is needed.
Until we all decide that having a shaved head is the best way fashion forward, periodically your drains will, yes will, get clogged with hair. There is nothing remotely voluntary about pouring your hair into a plug. Nobody EVER has said ‘Man, I’ve got too much hair, I’m going to shove it in the bath plug’. So the minute you start having passive-aggressive or blazing rows about whose hair is clogging up the drain, or holding it up to inspect the over-arching colour, you just hate each other too much to be under the same roof.
There should never be a time that you eat your dinner off of a chopping board because you’ve got so mad about constantly doing someone else’s washing up that you’ve left it all to sit on the side and there are now no clean plates. Plates over mates people, come on.
If you’ve ever left a note for your housemate – a LOLsome one telling them how much you love them full of in-jokes, a bitchy one telling them to get off their arse and doing the hoovering, or a needy one telling them your exact whereabouts, or a frankly terrifying one about staying away from your Flora – then it’s time to have a long hard look at your living situation… and your phone plan, because you should have enough credit to just text them FFS.
Picture: Francesca Allen
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