Kimberley Nixon

How to Ensure Living With Others Doesn’t Resemble Fresh Meat

Have you been watching Fresh Meat on Channel 4? How does it compare with your university experience?

The show follows a bunch of Freshers who are stuck together in a house off campus because there isn’t enough room in the halls of residence for everyone.

Joe Thomas plays Kingsley in Fresh Meat (photo by damo1977)

Joe Thomas plays Kingsley in Fresh Meat (photo by damo1977)

After the first episode, I thought the Telegraph summed things up best:

“Fresh Meat has two types of joke. One, somebody says or does something embarrassing; two, somebody says or does something cruel. And that’s more or less all you get, again and again, for a drainingly bleak hour.”

That’s not to say the show isn’t any good. It’s just consistently excruciating. You’ll no doubt squirm and cover your eyes when you watch it. Or, if you’re hard like me, you’ll just stare open-mouthed and wide-eyed at the insanity of it all. ;)

But Fresh Meat doesn’t portray living together with others as you might experience it:

  • It’s too isolated;
  • The coincidences are too forced to be realistic;
  • Everything happens too quickly;
  • There’s no let up from the awkwardness;
  • The truths and stereotypical situations are exaggerated for filmic effect.

Living with others isn’t always easy, even if it’s not usually as uncomfortable as Fresh Meat portrays. So how do you live together with others and survive to tell the tale?

HackCollege explains how easy it is to establish house routines early. In a new academic year, everything changes, even if you’ve already spent a year living with the same people in the same house. That situation is easier to deal with, certainly, but new timetables and different working circumstances introduce a new dynamic. Don’t think you’re home and dry, whatever you’re doing this year!

Wherever you are and whoever you’re living with, it helps to sort the housekeeping, rotas, admin, bills, and so on, as early as possible. Here are five quick tips (or 4 + 20 tips…) to make sure your experience doesn’t resemble one off Fresh Meat:

  1. Respect requests – You may not agree to every last wish of a housemate, but communicate with them and be reasonable. Try to find a compromise. If you can’t do that, look at other ways to handle the problem, even if it won’t result in your housemate getting closer to what they want. It may only take a friendly ear and you resisting the temptation to raise your voice in exasperation.
  2. Have regular meetings and LISTEN! – People see issues from many perspectives. Before you start thinking your other housemates are crazy, find out how they see the situation. The reason for regular meetings is not so much about formality, but more about continued communication. Keep talking and keep listening, because communication breakdown doesn’t help anyone.
  3. Keep notes, rules, rotas, and all important information up to date and close to hand – Avoid last minute scrambles to find crucial documents. Ensure everyone is fully aware of what’s expected and required. Commit to five minutes of admin once every week or two so you don’t have to timetable several hours later on when you’re busy doing more important things.
  4. Consider your housemates at all times – You want to feel at home in your own accommodation. And so does everyone else! Remember you’re not living alone. Flip things the other way… When you come home late at night, making huge amounts of noise, would you be happy if one of your housemates did the same thing when you were trying to get some sleep?
  5. Read my 20 hints for living with others – Loads more information to help you tidy, pay bills, and party with ease.