The Eight Housemates You’ve Definitely Had

Including the loveable lout. And the one with a girlfriend - who you might want to avoid...


by Amelia Phillips |
Published on

Living on your own, it’s easy to forget what sharing with other people is like. Moving back in with friends seems an absurd regression. In your own home, you never have to queue for the shower or wipe someone’s piss off the toilet seat. The sofa comes with a promise of innumerable lounging possibilities. And who’d give up their own kitchen? It goes hand in hand with a car and a business trip in demonstrating that you’ve made it to adulthood.

But watching* The Young Ones* back, a lanky housemate with an endless pot of lentil stew had unexpected appeal. Funny things only happen when you’re with other people or animals, and finding your own pets hilarious is, let’s be honest, pitiful. If telly can teach us anything, it’s that even the seemingly terrible can be seen in a positive light among friends. Slipping on a wet bathroom floor and breaking a leg doesn’t have the same laugh-a-minute quality when you’re on your own.

Still, making a rash decision when choosing a room could mean ending up with Jack Whitehall’s character in* Fresh Meat*, JP, or worse, Jack Whitehall. Even a Rachel Green could be a potential disaster to share with. Yes, she’s rich and easy-going, but you’d constantly be doing her washing up or nagging her about it. And no one likes to nag.

Looking for housemates, you realise that there are some recurring characters. Some you’d never consider but would be surprisingly easy to live with. Some are like stray dogs – cute from the other side of the road, flea-ridden and frothing on closer inspection. If you’re thinking of moving in with friends, either for the first time or in a heel turn back to irresponsibility, read on. We’ve compiled a list of those to approach and those to avoid.

The one who sits in their room all the time

The one who sits in their room all the time is a tempting housemate. The sofa is yours. They never complain about the noise or the mess and they are pleasant enough when you talk to them. 'Fine, thanks' is their only response to your enquiries about their wellbeing. 'Fine' is their most used word, in fact. It’s funny how 'fine' starts to sound quite sinister when used in such frequency. 'Sorry, I was using your book to support this unstable table. Is that okay?' 'Fine.' The ghost of the one who sits in their room all the time starts to occupy quite a lot of space in the flat. The sofa doesn’t feel like yours anymore, not with this guilt. No attempts to get them to socialise work. 'Have fun,' they say. Such a breezy attitude can become quite anxiety inducing. The house starts to feel more asylum-like than before. Plus, you moved in with friends to have some fun, not be watching the eyes on a cardboard cutout following you around the room.

Approach or avoid?

Unless you’re moving out from a hellish, demanding housemate, avoid.

The one with the girlfriend

As a girl – or woman, if you prefer – it’s refreshing to live with boys for the first time. Your assumption that boys were messier seems daft. The one with the girlfriend is scrupulous about washing up straight after dinner. You immediately get on with the one with the girlfriend. He’s easy in himself, he’s content with his lot. He has the sort of confidence that you only see in those who either flew through their teens with ease, are in long-term relationships or have great relationships with their mums. There’s a catch, though. He has a girlfriend and she’s often around. That in itself isn’t a problem – she’s lovely – but you become overly aware of your behaviour. You want to play-fight or mention an in-joke, but you don’t want his girlfriend to feel threatened. And where do you sit? They should have the sofa, there are two of them. But you were lying here first. The one with the girlfriend and his girlfriend turn you into a real-life gif, stopping and starting and jolting and smiling inanely.

Approach or avoid?

Approach. You just need to get used to it and befriend his girlfriend and everything’ll be tip top. Although, give it a year and they’ll be talking about moving in together, which might be something to consider.

The one who's like you, but not enough

After months of searching, it’s such a relief when you find the one who’s like you, but not enough. You’re most likely to meet them through friends. They’ll have an impressive career and good style, which you never thought would be selling points, but apparently you are more shallow than you thought. On meeting, they’ll have some semblance of a sense of humour and be very sweet. The one who’s like you, but not enough requires the most research, the most sussing. You’re more than likely to come away from the first meeting really excited but with a cautious ache in your stomach. Once you’ve moved in, it could go one of two ways. They bring home loads of raver friends. Oh no, one of them has put on the lampshade as a crazy hat. It’s six in the morning and they’re banging out cheap dubstep. On the other hand, they could be the perfect antidote to your own life. You could spend your time mostly apart with just dinners and Sundays as hungover comrades.

Approach or avoid?

Suss. Reserve opinion until you’ve spent a quiet evening in each other’s company.

The loveable lout

The loveable lout, what can I say? The loveable lout, though present in every group, is hardly a pinnacle of society. They’re the one flailing their way into a room, kicking over a can of Red Stripe in the process. Apologising profusely, they’ll grab your bath towel to mop up the mess. The loveable lout’s room looks like a squat, some feat as they don’t own anything except a few negligible bits and bobs. They leave the bathroom in a mess and have friends staying on the sofa, but where you would chastise your other housemates, you don’t chastise them. Neither do your housemates. The loveable lout is an anomaly, destined to be eternally looked after by others in return for their unfaltering kindness.

Approach or avoid?

Approach, of course.

The what’s the matter with them?!

The what’s the matter with them seems moody at first. Do they like you, who can say? It’s best to stay out of the what’s the matter with them’s way at first. You might have been friends with them before, but you didn’t realise how disgruntled they were when they hadn’t slept well. Don’t make a joke about it though, they take life quite seriously and like reliability and personal space. After an extended period of living with the what’s the matter with them, you both relax. You feel less awkward knowing it’s just the two of you staying in one night. In fact, you have a wonderful time and get to see how sarcastic and clever they are. From this point on, you and they are great friends. They are a loyal breed so once you’re in, you’re in for life.

Approach or avoid?

Approach, if you can handle a year of unsettling silences.

The surprising arsehole

You always used to like the surprising arsehole, although back then that’s not what they were called. Gregarious, charming, fun and hardworking, the surprising arsehole seemed to have it all. You weren’t that close but always gravitated towards each other when you did meet. The prospect of moving in with the surprising arsehole was a thrilling one. Not to be teenage, but you did think you’d found a potential ‘new best friend’. It all came crashing down rather quickly. Your novelty appeal has worn off to the surprising arsehole, who cares only about Instagram and new trainers. When you have friends over, the surprising arsehole does what they can to make you look like an idiot. 'Do that thing you always do when you’re sleeping. I can hear you through the wall, it sounds like an elephant!' 'She has the longest showers, like she’s just come back from a year in the Amazon. Actually, I barely ever see her leave the house. Oh, come on, I’m only joking.' Fuck off, the surprising arsehole.

Approach or avoid?

Avoid. Mutter insults under your breath and chilli powder their beer.

The one who likes to brings different people home

There’s nothing wrong with the one who likes to bring people home. Be fair, we all have to deal with the Tinder fallout, even those of us not on it. The problem is in the frequency. When you’ve lived on your own you get used to walking about in a T-shirt and pants. What sort of world do we live in if you can’t even do that on a Tuesday morning? Aside from weeknight partners, they also bring friends home on a regular basis. They’re a very social creature, this one, with a bit of an unpredictable streak. They like to play music late and you have a full-time job and it grates. But they’ve introduced you to some lovely people and other than taking the piss here and there, they’re inoffensive.

Approach or avoid?

If they are otherwise worth it and understanding of your occasional rants, approach.

The one of the good ones

You knew the one of the good ones would be part of your life from the moment you met them. Maybe you’ve known them for years, maybe you’ve only just met, it doesn’t matter. You have a connection. The one of the good ones always seems to be there when you feel like staying in, but is also easily tempted out. They leave you be when you don’t want to get emotional and ask if there’s anything wrong when you need to drench someone’s jumper with your tears. The one of the good ones is the temptation that leads people who live alone to think they’ve made the wrong choice. Maybe it’s a significant other to some, but people who aren’t in relationships only have friends to fill that role. The most important attribute of the one of the good ones is their unannoyingness. Tolerance is a quality that people who live alone have learnt to let go of, tolerance and compromise. Maybe UKIP candidates live alone. We should arrange for them to join a commune and see their tolerance and willingness to compromise blossom in the company of others. Compromising for the one of the good ones doesn’t even feel like a chore, it’s just good manners.

Approach or avoid?

Grab with both your hands and never let go.

Follow Amelia on Twitter @ameliaephillips**


Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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