Settling in with new flatmates

by Kien Le, Wills Hall resident 2021-22, 2nd yr Sociology BSc

Is it your first time staying at the University of Bristol Halls? Are you feeling insecure about a brand-new life with brand-new people? While settling in with flatmates may be a stroll in the park for some, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you have your own concerns. Even siblings sometimes struggle to set aside their differences, let alone flatmates.

The key is to build and maintain good connections between each other; usually decided by your first interactions. Here are some simple tips when settling in with your new housemates:

1. Interact more during daylight hours

The first impression between flatmates is the first chapter of the adventure, so if it is positive, what’s coming next is definitely worth looking forward to. Talking to your mates during the daytime produces free-minded conversations to get used to one another. Late night hours, on the other hand, usually involve lots of drinking so you may interact with “the drunk version” of some people. Trust me, it is much better to get acquainted during the day. Your exchanges are much more meaningful in calmer contexts, making it easier to discover common grounds. If you are more of an introvert, it may be better to talk to fewer flatmates at a time.

2. Be friendly and caring

It’s very straightforward; who wouldn’t get along with a helpful, generous, and heart-warming housemate? Small gestures such as holding the door, giving a coughing person a Strepsil Tablet, or showing directions to the laundry room genuinely helps your mates settle with you. For example, on my arrival at my first-year accommodation, one of my flatmates was on his way to Uni. He stopped to help me carry my luggage into our flat, then showed me around. He even introduced me to some other lads. We got along really well during our stay. Being friendly is great, but your friendliness is more meaningful to your flatmates when you show that you really care about them!

3. Do activities together

Once your first interactions have gone well, you should always keep up the good relationships to fully settle in. Try doing some activities as a group. Remember to send every flatmate an invitation!
Get involved in some sports or go clubbing as a group. If you want to take things easy, wait for each other to catch the bus or have meals together. During Welcome Week, you should always try to join your flat group at least once if you’ve made many friends elsewhere. Nothing beats the feeling when every flatmate is part of the team!

4. Always respect communal places, shared facilities, and people’s private lives

My final tip is pretty obvious, but it’s still something worth addressing: showing respect. You’d surely prefer living with tidy, responsible, and respectful housemates, wouldn’t you?
For instance, you should empty the bins when it’s your turn, clean the kitchen if you made a mess, wash your cutlery after eating, use headphones if you like loud music, etc,… Respect is always a two-way

street, so respecting the flat shows your flatmates that you deserve their respect!

To settle your differences, you ought to agree on some ground rules. That’s why the ResiLife team usually holds a flat meeting when your tenancy starts; this is your chance to voice your wishes to your flatmates.
You can always contact ResiLife services for further support if you’ve tried every tip and still can’t solve settling issues during your stay.
Hope you enjoy your first flat-share!

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