How to tell if you’re a bad housemate
If you’ve ever shared a flat or house with someone, or spent time in someone else’s shared house, chances are you’ve got opinions about what constitutes Housemate From Hell status.
Maybe it was that guy who used to live with your uni boyfriend, or the woman with the porcelain deer collection, or any one of the entries in the terrifying rogue’s gallery we assembled last year.
One thing’s for sure, though, the Housemate From Hell is very rarely the person you see when you look in the mirror. Most of us drift through life, certain that we are the best housemate to have ever lived and any sharehouse issues we’ve faced are surely the fault of someone else.
If that’s the case, statistically speaking it’s probably likely that at least once you were the Housemate From Hell – and it’s time to face the truth. Here’s a handy self-help guide for those who are wondering whether they might be the source of the household’s pain.
You’ve left a tissue in a common area
If you’re sick and you have lost your wits, this is vaguely acceptable. If, on the other hand, you are in perfect health and are in a habit of blowing your nose and then wandering off to do something else, you should be ashamed of yourself.
You’re a TV hog
Here’s one from my own archives: as I work from home, it’s not unusual for me to knock off before everybody else. More than once my housemate has returned from her day of work, only to find me splayed out on the couch and merrily announcing “Come in! I’m watching [something nobody wants to watch unless it’s actually homework or they’re being paid]!” Yes, the couch is comfy and it’s better to watch a movie on a big screen rather than hunched over your laptop in the bath (etc), but come on: caring is sharing. Shove over and give someone else the remote.
You habitually forget to lock doors
If you live alone and affect a “born in a tent” approach to household safety, well, you only have yourself to blame and your own possessions to lose should you forget to lock the front door. If you live with others, however, and your laissez-faire door-locking habits mean that someone else’s laptop, television, phone or life savings is stolen, it’s on you.
You enjoy a read in the smallest room
Are there more than two people living in your house? Is there only one lavatory? Do you use your time on the throne to catch up on a few dozen chapters of A Song Of Ice And Fire or to do an entire crossword? GET OUTTA THERE!
You’ve organised the fridge
Giving the fridge a quick once-over to remove any melted cucumbers or rapidly solidifying cartons of milk is one thing. Going through the fridge with military precision, separating your fancy organic products from your housemate’s home-brand ones (and/or vice versa) and then helpfully announcing which shelf is whose is another thing altogether. While we’re on the topic: if you’ve ever hovered over the carton of eggs you just bought and wondered whether you should write your name on them, it’s time to take a good, hard look at yourself.
You’re fond of a strong fragrance
Incense, perfume, scented candles, those bottles full of stinky skewers: are you a fan of things with heavy scents? If so, it’s possible you’ve sent more than one housemate diving for the window/Febreze/coconut charcoal block every time you’ve left the house in a cloud of musk or sandalwood. There’s nothing wrong with hosing your bedroom down with Poison or firing up a few dozen incense cones per se but when the butter in the fridge starts to taste like Nag Champa it might be time to tone it down a bit.
Find out now!