House shares are amazing. You get a free pass to hang with your besties 24/7. At Uni, too often the naïve predictably enter bullet-proof house pacts with their NBFs after two weeks into their first terms, later discovering their chosen room mate’s panache for public toe-nail clipping or worse, Coldplay. Too late, tenancy signed…
Time passes and suddenly you know who you are, and what you like. You’re an adult now and it’s OK to have milkshake and wine for dinner Bad choices are yours to make. No matter how depraved, lazy or neurotic you might be, by now you’ve found people who you like, and (gasp) like you. These are your housemates, and it’s time for the honeymoon.
But honeymoons don’t last forever, and much like marriage the introduction of an intimate third party can really tip the scales of neurosis. In a poll Chored conducted on houseshares we discovered that over 20% of our 20,000 respondents cited housemates’ bf/gfs as the reason for house hold arguments. Rent’s not cheap, and no one like a freeloader.
In a recent article from the Guardian, subtly titled “How do we get rid of our flatmate’s girlfriend” the readers’ advice seems to fall into four key categories.
The indirect approach
Ed, from Birmingham suggests that rather than getting straight to the root of the issue, gutlessly skirt around the actual problem, instead focusing on the “interesting increase in abandoned washing up”, or the sudden bathroom gentrification.
Try saying something like “it really does feel like the washer/dryer is never free anymore” whilst repeatedly raising one eyebrow and elbow-gesturing wildly at the symphony of colours and frills your previously drab clothes horse has become.
If this doesn’t work then it’s best just to hide in your room until the relationship fizzles out.
The “dirty rat” technique
Popular housemate JE, from Bath suggests rather than confronting the offending housemate directly, you can effectively achieve the required result with minimal input and complete impunity, simply by grassing up the paracitic couple to your landlord.
JE said that “our neighbours resented the intrusion but felt uncomfortable about confronting their housemate. [The result] One evicted tenant plus hanger-on, one lost deposit, three happy house-mates.”
Spines are overrated, anyway.
Clare from Canterbury suggest that the straight up, one to one approach with your housemate is the best way forward.
Sadly, I once chose this approach, but directed the technique on the gf. Unfortunately, this turned out to be about an hour before a much anticipated, crucially necessary job interview, following a period of prolonged unemployment. Cue tears, gut wrenching remorse and the almost demise of a very old friendship. Bad times indeed.
SPOILER: She got the job, which basically absolves me. But still, Chored would’t recommend this approach.
Or finally…become utter bastards
Tom from Peckham argues any significant other who can remain oblivious to the tension and animosity they are causing (in a house that is not their own) should be taught a swift and thorough lesson in the perils of social ineptitude.
Tom advises continuous confrontation, reducing cordialities to the absolute minimum, not inviting her to your McDonalds’ birthday party, wear her maxi-dresses as cooking aprons, coating her ear-buds in popping candy or by substituting all of her organic fennel with GM fennel. Just don’t drink all her cider. She REALLY likes her cider, ok? It’s only going to be for another couple of weeks and then she’s dumped, alright? Just stop drinking the damn cider.
For an alternate look at how to manage the “girlfriend” situation, check out the Onion’s fantastic parody here.
The Chored Team