Pros and Cons of Having a Flatmate

by iROOMit Team
18 May 2023
8 min read

Sharing a living space with a flatmate can be both exciting and challenging. On one hand, it is an excellent way to save money, build a social network, and create memorable experiences. At the same time, it can lead to conflicts, privacy issues, and differing lifestyles.

This article delves into the pros and cons of having a flatmate, considering the financial, social, emotional, and practical aspects.

So, before you sign that lease or extend an invitation, let's weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having a flatmate together.

Pros of Having a Flatmate

Financial Benefits

One major perk of having a flatmate is the financial relief it offers. Sharing rent and utility expenses can significantly lighten the burden on your wallet.

With someone to split the costs, you can enjoy a larger living space or choose a more desirable location without breaking the bank. Additionally, sharing household items and groceries can lead to savings. Need a blender or a vacuum? Your flatmate might already have one!

Check out this helpful resource on splitting bills with flatmates, which offers practical tips and even a calculator to make budgeting a breeze.

Social Interactions

Having a flatmate isn't just about splitting the bills—it can also be a fantastic remedy for loneliness. If you've been feeling lonely or craving company, a flatmate can be your instant buddy.

With a flatmate, you have someone to chat with over morning coffee, watch movies with on lazy Sundays, and even vent after a long day.

Moreover, having a flatmate opens up exciting opportunities to meet new people. They might invite their friends, introduce you to their social circles, or even inspire you to join activities or events you wouldn't have considered otherwise.

Who knows? Your next best friend or adventure might be just a flatmate away!


Sharing Responsibilities

Having a flatmate means you no longer have to tackle all the household chores and tasks alone. Dividing chores can be a game-changer, making the workload lighter and freeing up time for other activities.

Some responsibilities you can share include:

  • Cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, or living area
  • Taking out the trash or recycling
  • Grocery shopping and meal planning
  • Pet care or plant watering
  • Running errands or picking up packages
  • Decorating or organizing the living space

With a flatmate, you'll have a reliable partner in crime to tackle daily tasks and make life a little easier and more enjoyable.

Emotional Support

Another benefit of having a flatmate is the valuable emotional support it offers, especially during tough times. Having someone to turn to and share your thoughts and feelings with is comforting.

A flatmate can be a listening ear, a source of comfort, and even a confidant. Venting about personal problems, getting encouragement and motivation, or simply having someone to talk to over a cup of tea can make all the difference.

Whether it's a pep talk before a big presentation or a shoulder to lean on during tough times, a flatmate can provide the emotional support we all need.

Cons of Having a Flatmate

Privacy Concerns

While there are many perks to having a flatmate, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks, such as privacy concerns. Sharing a living space means sacrificing some personal space, and it can be challenging to carve out alone time or privacy when living with someone else.

For example, you may feel uncomfortable when your flatmate brings over friends or significant others or struggle to find quiet time when they're watching TV or talking on the phone. 

Try to navigate boundaries and communicate openly to ensure both you and your flatmate respect each other's need for privacy.


Conflicting Lifestyles

Living with a flatmate can be a bumpy ride when conflicting lifestyles collide. Differences in cleanliness, organization, or even incompatible schedules and routines can lead to frustration.

Overcoming these challenges requires open communication, compromise, and setting clear expectations. Set clear boundaries from the beginning, discuss schedules, establish cleaning schedules or systems that work for both parties, and find ways to accommodate each other's routines.

Here are a few examples of conflicting lifestyles and tips to address them:

  • Cleanliness: Set clear expectations for cleanliness standards and establish a cleaning schedule that works for both of you.
  • Sleep schedules: Discuss quiet hours and find compromises that accommodate each other's sleep needs.
  • Personal routines: Respect each other's routines by communicating schedules and finding ways to minimize disruptions.
  • Shared spaces: Establish guidelines for shared spaces and communicate openly about expectations regarding organization and clutter.

Remember, having a flatmate is all about finding balance and respecting each other's individuality.

Disagreements and Arguments

As much as we'd like to think that living with a flatmate will always be sunshine and rainbows, the reality is that disagreements and arguments can and will happen.

Resolving conflicts can be difficult, especially when it involves different opinions, personalities, and lifestyles. These disagreements can strain the friendship, making maintaining a healthy living arrangement challenging.

Communication is key when addressing this. Avoiding passive-aggressive behavior and instead having calm, direct conversations about concerns or grievances can help diffuse tension. Encourage open and honest dialogue, actively listen to each other's concerns, and work together to find solutions that benefit both parties.

Disagreements are a natural part of any relationship, and how you address them can make all the difference.

Unequal Contribution

Unequal contribution when living with a flatmate can lead to dissatisfaction and tension. Financial disparities, such as one flatmate consistently paying more than their fair share of rent or utilities, can create resentment.

Similarly, an unfair division of chores and responsibilities can leave one flatmate feeling overburdened while the other seemingly avoids their share. Unequal contributions can also extend to shared household items and groceries, where one flatmate may feel taken advantage of if they are always purchasing these necessities.

These imbalances can create an atmosphere of unfairness and strain the living arrangement. To address this, have open discussions about expectations and financial obligations, establish a fair chore distribution, and create a system for sharing expenses equitably.

Establishing clear guidelines and a fair system for sharing expenses and responsibilities can help prevent feelings of inequality.

Tips for a Successful Flatmate Relationship

Establishing Clear Communication

Establishing clear communication is essential for a successful flatmate relationship. It helps foster understanding, prevents misunderstandings, and promotes a harmonious living environment. 

You can avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts by setting boundaries and expectations upfront. Regular check-ins and discussions provide opportunities to address any concerns or issues promptly.

Here are some tips for maintaining clear communication with your flatmate:

  • Have an open and honest dialogue about your preferences, schedules, and pet peeves.
  • Set boundaries and expectations from the beginning.
  • Address conflicts or disagreements calmly and directly, avoiding passive-aggressive behavior.
  • Listen actively and seek to understand the other person's perspective.
  • Establish a system for resolving conflicts fairly and respectfully.
  • Establish a system for sharing responsibilities and keeping each other accountable.
  • Schedule regular flatmate meetings to address any ongoing issues and ensure everyone's needs are met.

Clear communication builds trust, resolves conflicts, and helps create a positive and enjoyable living experience.


Selecting a Compatible Flatmate

Choosing a suitable flatmate is the first step toward a successful flatmate relationship. Living with an incompatible flatmate can lead to disagreements, conflicts, and a strained relationship.

Take the time to identify shared values, priorities, and lifestyle habits. Incompatible flatmates can cause unnecessary stress and tension. You don't want to be constantly at odds over cleanliness, noise levels, or sleep schedules.

When looking for a suitable flatmate, consider the following:

  • Identify shared values and priorities, such as cleanliness, noise level, and social preferences.
  • Financial responsibility: Can they reliably contribute to shared expenses?
  • Assess living habits and preferences, including schedules, hobbies, and personality traits.
  • Be honest about your expectations, limitations, and deal-breakers.
  • Ask potential flatmates about their lifestyles, habits, and preferences.
  • Check references, conduct background checks, and review their social media profiles.
  • Consider compatibility beyond surface-level characteristics, such as cultural background and communication style.

Take the time to assess these aspects to help you find a flatmate who aligns with your lifestyle and values. It will set the foundation for a strong and compatible flatmate relationship, promoting mutual respect and a peaceful living arrangement.

Make an Informed Decision. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Having a Flatmate

Is it better to have a flatmate or live alone?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Having a flatmate offers financial relief, social interactions, and shared responsibilities. But privacy concerns, conflicting lifestyles, and potential disagreements can pose challenges.

Consider your personal needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Reflect on whether you value companionship and cost savings or prioritize solitude and independence. Ultimately, whether it's better to have a flatmate or live alone depends on what works best for you.