They never do their washing-up
Do – Approach the subject calmly, and explain why it is a problem from a hygiene perspective, as well as why cluttering up the table and worktop isn’t very fair on you and the rest of the flat.
Be sensitive though, their dishes might not be the only thing piling up on them, they might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by life. Check in to see if they’re okay once in a while too.
Don’t – Hold a spontaneous Greek plate-smashing dance with their pile of washing up, with a man standing in the corner strumming a guitar as a backing track. Not only is it a harmful and inaccurate stereotype, you still have to live with this person, and smashing their crockery is a surefire way to create a hostile atmosphere.
They always have their music way too loud and late
Do – Wait until the next day to talk to them. Confronting them when you’re tired and irritated isn’t going to be productive, and you might end up saying things you don’t mean, which will only make things worse. They might not even realise they are being loud, so just a small side comment in the morning should be enough.
Don’t – Lead a torchlit pitchfork march with the rest of your flat to their door, batter the door down and kidnap the offending speaker with a net on a stick. Even if you intend to give it back when they learn to be more responsible with it, pitchfork marches are never the right way to go about things. Just ask Shrek.
You seem to be doing all the chores
Do – Use a lot of “I” statements, which avoid laying the blame at the feet of anyone else, which makes people more likely to think of it from your point of view. Offer solutions as well, like a chart or just giving each person their own job, like Bin Day Coordinator, or Chief of Kitchen Cleaning.
Don’t – Just stop doing them without telling anybody. If everyone else is stuck in the rut of “ah, someone else will do it” whenever they see a full bin, you stopping isn’t going to change that. Doing nothing is just going to lead to a growing tide of microwave rice sachets, empty cans and Snackrite crisp packets, that refuses to stop expanding until the world looks like the beginning of WALL-E.
They steal your food
Do – If you’re really sure something’s going on, and who it is (check with your other flatmates whether they’re noticing things go missing), start the conversation with some kind of apology for not being clear.
For example “I’m sorry for not mentioning this sooner, but I’m not totally comfortable with the whole food sharing thing we’ve got going on here”. You’ll get a much better response than if you just go ballistic at them from the off.
Don’t – Slowly replace the kind of food they like to steal with less appealing alternatives, and see how long it takes for them to notice and stop. For example, if there’s a big pot of yoghurt in the fridge, and the leftover half always seems to disappear, swap that half for mayonnaise. Or switching out your mysteriously vanishing cheddar cheese for lard.
Or do, because it sounds quite fun.
Featured Image: PickPik