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Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock
Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock

Here’s what to do if things are getting tense with your housemates as we come out of lockdown

Things are *way* more complicated now the rules have loosened

Kate Lloyd

Welcome to our series where, each week, we get experts to find solutions to your lockdown problems. Send yours to and we’ll try to get you an answer. In this instalment: how to navigate different interpretations of the new rules. 

Hannah from Brockley says: 

Since the lockdown rules have loosened, things with my housemate have got very tense. Both of us have different attitudes about how strictly to follow them and different interpretations of what they mean. How do we navigate that without falling out?’

Life coach Sam Abraham says: 

This time has really tested house-share relationships. This is especially true for those of us living with someone who has reacted to it completely differently. It’s really shown us how everyone responds differently when put under pressure. Here are a few tips on surviving a house share as we ease into the New Normal.’

Remember it’s a house ‘share’

Some housemates might have firmly planted themselves in the lounge or kitchen for the past few months, still not going out because of fear of getting sick (as places open up and distance requirements lessen). This is totally fair behaviour, but if you miss your spot on the sofa, have a chat with them and create some kind of plan so that you can share in a more balanced way.’

Be flexible

If you’re having guests over, inform your housemate of your plans and discuss any worries they may have. Figure out a way you can both win – such as agreeing that you’ll clean any areas or utensils your guests use once they’ve left. Having the conversation will provide your housemate with a chance to protect themselves.’

Difference is healthy

‘We can learn so much from people who are different to ourselves. If things get tense when talking about how to behave in the New Normal, take some time to breathe some calm into the situation. Remind yourself that the worst is over. Have a vent with friends who can add perspective or even humour to your situation.

Adjust at your own rate

‘Some of us will be taking short, slow steps out of lockdown while others can’t get out fast enough – both ways are okay. Give each other time and space, you’ll both figure out your own ways of coping and managing in the end.

Speak to your landlord 

If your housemate is behaving in a way that makes you feel unsafe and will not listen to your requests for them to stop, there are steps you can take. Your landlord can help in some cases by writing to their tenants about their expectations.’

Read more in this series:

Feeling nervous about going back to real life? A life coach gives his tips

Why am I having such vivid dreams in lockdown?

Why do I have the attention span of a goldfish? 


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