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We spoke to Exeter students who are still friends with their halls flatmates and asked how they did it

Number four: A healthy dose of trauma bonding


We’ve all got a version of that story – the legendary tale of the problematic flatmate, who you had minor beef with in first year, but who continues to avert their eyes whenever you’re inevitably thrown together at The Vic. For many, falling out with your flatmate is a rite of passage, a leveller of sorts. It’s up there with shitty landlords and mould infested bathrooms as a staple of the student experience. But what about those rare occasions when the Accommodation Office does get it right, and you stumble across your ride-or-die in the Birks Grange car park? Against all odds, first year friendships can endure. We asked a group of final year students how they did it and this is what they said.

1. Manage your expectations

It’s easy to think you’ll meet “your people” on the first day of Freshers’ Week. The truth is you probably won’t – and even if you do, you certainly won’t know it yet. Uni is stressful enough without piling on additional pressure. Go with the flow and save yourself some disappointment later.

2. New season, new cast members

You’re entering a new era – embrace it! Stop holding out for copy and paste versions of your school mates.

3. Invest in the introverts

It’s easy to gravitate toward the loud and the outgoing, especially when you don’t know anyone yet. Sure, they have their merits, but don’t write anyone off just because they’re on the quieter side.

4. A healthy dose of trauma-bonding

This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but there’s nothing like a small upheaval to usher the friendship along. Never underestimate the power of a pandemic or an unexploded WW2 bomb.

5. If in doubt, get battered and spill your guts

Some of the most significant friendship breakthroughs occur after one too many Jägerbombs: Tried and tested x.

6. People aren’t perfect

Know your non-negotiables but leave some room for error. Everyone’s just figuring their own shit out.

7. Don’t be gross

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

8. Authenticity is key

Uni’s a great place to reinvent yourself, but don’t try and hide the silly parts of yourself. Some people might just love you for them.

9. Sometimes it’s not meant to be