How to break up with your flatmate and still be friends

Flatmates Team


It’s a new year and after the year that was 2020, we understand that you’re ready for new horizons. The reality is that as much as you love your flatmates, no one would blame you for wanting a change in 2021.

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It might not even be the people: you might just be over the place itself. You’ve likely had plenty of time to stare out the window at the next-door wall a metre away. You’ve probably crammed years’ worth of couch-bound Netflix viewing into a handful of bleak lockdown months.

It’s time for a fresh start! But how will you break it to your flatmates? Maybe you’re not close, so it’s not a problem. But if your flatmates feel like good friends or family, this could be a sensitive conversation.

Maybe you’re just not the right fit for each other, or perhaps they’ve got some habits that you just can’t live with. Either way, you’re going to need to ‘break up’ with them and move out,

So, what’s the most painless way to break the news?

Do it early

Ideally, let your flatmates know as soon as you’ve decided you want to move.

Don’t leave it until you’ve signed a lease and are packing your stuff. After all, your housemates will need time to find a new, you. Leaving it until the last minute to tell them isn’t a good look.

Once you’ve made your decision, get them together and let them know. Explain your reasons and if you don’t want to lose them as friends, make that clear.

Protect the friendship

It’s the oldest advice in the book: sweeten up the bad news with a good dose of the good.

Okay, so you’re leaving. Don’t let it be a slap in the face for your flatmates: let them know that you want to preserve the friendship. In fact, that could be the reason why you’ve decided to move on.

Take the time to explain that their friendship is more important to you than living together. This can help make the news easier to take and give you a better chance of maintaining the relationship after you’ve gone.

Of course, listen to their concerns too and make sure they understand how important they are to you.

Leave them something

As you pack up your stuff, you might find that you won’t need it all at your new place. Maybe your new home already has a fridge. What will you do with that one you bought three years ago?

Offer it to your flatmates, free. If you can’t afford to give it away, be a good sport and offer the items up for mates rates.

Moving house is a hassle, so being able to leave some of your things exactly where they are will save you time and energy. It may also reduce hassle for your old flatmates, who might not have had the ready cash to drop on a new fridge.

Of course, you should only leave what they’re happy to take, so ask before you leave anything behind. But if they say yes, this is a great way to finish things on a positive note. Giving is a win-win!

Keep accountable

In saying that, don’t just pack up your room and leave. You need to make sure you clean your room and leave it in an “end of lease clean” condition, especially if you’re needing a bond return.

You also need to make sure that you don’t leave your junk behind (unless your flatmates have specifically told your they want that bad of rubbish to remain where it is) as this will definitely leave a sour taste in your flatmate’s mouth. Ain’t nobody got time to be cleaning up after you!

Stay in touch

You’re moving out, but that doesn’t mean you have to become strangers. After all, your old flatmates will probably receive the odd bit of mail for you and there might be other loose ends to tie up after you move.

A quick catch-up or the occasional text message can help you stay on good terms. So why not invite them around for a drink at your new place? It might be less awkward than them inviting you back to the house you’ve just moved out of. If your reason for moving was, say, that you wanted a big backyard, you’ll be able to share it with them.

Ultimately, though, the invitation alone proves you’re keen to keep in touch. It’s a solid sign that while you may no longer be flatmates, you’re definitely still mates.


Flatmates Team