Like every other person unfortunate enough to have experienced the London rental market, the thought of paying £650 a month for a room makes my stomach churn. I take issue with renting in London for more reasons than are physically possible to cram into this article. Apart from being obviously exploitative, paying rent leaves me very sad and very poor.
So this summer I decided to make a change. My house contract finished in June, and I realised that I did not want- nor was I able- to pay rent during the summer months. So, my summer of ‘sofa-surfing’ began. In the space of six weeks, I stayed with seven different friends, in what felt like every area of London imaginable. This marathon of leeching off those that I love has taught me many things about how to make staying with friends work. It is a very delicate situation that can easily turn sour. So without further ado, here are my top tips for making crashing with a friend a domestic dream rather than a friendship-ending nightmare…
1. Be as tidy as you possibly can
Call me high maintenance, but there is nothing and I mean nothing I hate more than an explosion of clothes all over my bedroom floor. Living out of a suitcase, however, makes the scattered debris of clothing almost an inevitable part of daily life. Keeping tidy while staying with friends is undeniably difficult, but by making an active effort to keep your things tidy you will avoid all manner of conflicts. Nobody likes a messy room- so keep it clean!
2. Be an active part in communal cleaning
Okay so by now you may have realised I’m a bit of a neat freak… howeverit is so important to help your friends out while staying with them. It’s essential to make their lives as easy as you can, especially if you’re not paying rent. An hour cleaning the kitchen can go a long way to show your mates that you appreciate them and that you’re willing to pull your weight while they let you stay.
3. Buy (or at least offer to buy) the groceries
This is another sure fire way to get into your mates’ good-books while staying with them. I’m not saying pay for their weekly shop, but picking up some loo roll or a packet of biscuits will lead to a much more harmonious household. By helping out where you can, you’re showing your friends that you’re not being a total leech. Maybe you can’t pay them any rent, but you can buy them some hobnobs.
4. Tell your friends how grateful you are
This is ultimately the most important thing to do when staying with your friends. A thank you goes such a long wayand anything you can do to show appreciation is essential. I don’t know what I would have done this summer without the generosity of my lovely friends. It’s so easy to get caught up with work and socializing that we can forget how much our friends actually do for us. So if you take anything from this article, remember to thank those who help you out and make your life that little bit easier. As for my friends- you know who you are- thank you so very much.