Living With Other People

Put things back, don't hold grudges, and for goodness sake, do the dishes

By Hugh Upsher

Let me start off by saying "sorry for everything" to each and every person I’ve lived with in the past, and while I’m here, I totally forgive all of you for everything you may still feel bad about.

This takes us straight to lesson one: don’t bother carrying any grudges for more than a week.  

The gift of peanut butter

I had a really cool housemate once who would eat all my peanut butter from the jar when she got high. I only knew this because she would announce it while handing me a brand new jar of peanut butter. I never had to replace my own peanut butter the whole time I lived there. That was great. She was also kooky enough to give me a cupcake for her bulldog’s birthday. Win-win! Moral of the story: swiftly replacing things you took from someone is a far better strategy than pretending it never happened, or saying you’ll do it and forgetting.


I once lived in a block of flats where every other week I would hear classical music followed by a vacuum cleaner followed by the unmistakable sound of sex. Moral of the story: you can’t mask the sound of sex with other noises, it doesn’t work. It’s the same as using toilet spray after going to the toilet; it won’t make the room smell like Spring Citrus, it will make it smell like shit and toilet spray, aka shit-rus. The same logic applies for sex. If there are thin walls involved, please be considerate when you know your flatmate is in earshot of your nocturnal activities.

The bathroom

The less I dig into the details of shared bathrooms, the better. I shouldn’t have to tell you to always replace the toilet roll, always make sure there is hot water for the next person to shower and never leave an unidentifiable hair in unsuspecting places. Now let’s move on.

Dirty dishes

I once got into the nastiest, overblown, most avoidable argument with my old flatmates over a couple of unwashed pots. It started with a casual arrangement that I would do all the dishes while my other two flatmates took turns to prepare dinner. It was a shitty agreement that boiled over when they expected me to also clean their poster glue-covered mess left over from a non meal-related band promotion project. Moral of the story: don’t turn unwashed dishes into a political coup. If it ever comes to a standoff, be the bigger person, swallow your pride, and just power through until it’s done. Going forward, you can always negotiate as the bigger person. 


Sometimes being considerate just won’t be enough when it comes to your survival in a shared living space. The ‘treat people how you’d like to be treated’ ethos goes out the window when others don’t even register that their behaviour is affecting you. Whatever side you find yourself on, make sure that at the end of the day, you’re able to sit down and share a beer or two with them without fantasising about murdering them in their sleep.