Monday 23rd March

| BY Paul Toner

Ten Tips on Dealing with Your Housemates (Including Your Boyfriend) During Self-Isolation

What day of self-quarantine are we on again? Day three? Day six? Day 288317? Well, whenever it was that you chose to shut yourself away from the outside, things are probably feeling a little different than you expected. If you’re anything like me, a 20-year-old living with five others in a house-share in London, you may have imagined all this time at home as the ultimate bonding sesh with those you chose to share a roof over your head with. A guaranteed period of intense laughter, shared cuisine and acceptable afternoon drinking, seven days a week… Though I may or may not be on my third bottle of red, I can tell you so far it hasn’t been plain sailing.

When you’re forced to stay with the same people for a prolonged period of time, even if they’re your nearest and dearest, anything and everything can suddenly become rather irritating. Never in my life have I thought I’d be monitoring the amount of (my) tomato sauce people were dolloping on their bacon butty. Or equally, how red in the face I could get at someone simply leaving their trainers in the hallway. But here I am, angry and easily irritated. It’s a whole different kettle of fish when it comes to your partner. On a regular week, you may daydream what it would be like to have the chance to spend more hours shacked up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Yet who would’ve thought, when you’re handed all this quality time on a platter, being in the office has never looked more appealing.

There’s no precise method for fighting off the madness during all this time spent indoors. You could lock yourself in your room and pretend it’s just a regular working day, but what’s the point in depriving yourself of one of the only opportunities you’ll ever have to be able to make a full English at 10 am on a Tuesday? The key is to not spend too much, or too little time together – even if you don’t necessarily have the closest relationship with your housemates. Constant conversations surrounding the virus may become overwhelmingly claustrophobic at points, but so could the four walls of your bedroom if you become a recluse. Take advantage of your garden that you never use – it could probably use a cleanup anyway. Speaking of cleaning, use all this spare time to come together to make sure your humble abode is looking spick and span – scrubbing the bathroom is technically a form of exercise as well. If you live alone with just your partner, work with your headphones in, or if possible, try and work in separate rooms, and interchange each day. There are only so many times you can glare into your microwave and ponder on the fact you still haven’t given it a clean.

When queues outside of supermarkets are longer than those at Alton Towers during half-term, it’s hard not to be stingy with whatever shopping you’ve got stocked in your cupboard. But now’s not the time to be hoarding laundry tablets in your room, or snatching toilet roll like it’s a Nintendo Switch on a Black Friday deal. Think about if you were at your family home – would you really steal bog roll from your mum? Sharing is caring and you never know, being so selfish could come back to bite you in the arse – quite literally.

Look on the bright side, all this time spent with your housemates could strengthen friendships and even blossom a few new ones. Don’t think that’s likely to happen? Please try not to rip each other’s hair out…

Top image Alexander McQueen ‘Voss’, SS01.

@10magazine