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Agony Aunt Week 2: Finding flatmates and dealing with difficult family circumstances

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Question 1

Super super anxious about finding flatmates for next year, all my friends already have something sorted or live at home, no clue what I'm going to do

Hi Goat,

I was in a similar situation at the same time last year where my initial plans to live with some friends fell through. I continued to ask around to see who else was available to rent with and I eventually found my incredible flatmates who I lived with for second year. I would not give up hope yet as you still have some time to potentially find new people that you hadn’t expected to live with!

However, it is useful to also have a second, practical option to keep in mind. If you can’t find anyone that you feel comfortable renting with, then perhaps you could live in halls for second year as many people do and it could potentially give you greater opportunities to get to know more people which has been more limited this year. If you would prefer to not live in halls, then you could perhaps look at the year’s group chat or in the offer holders group chat as there can be postings about flat renting options. But I believe that these are usually flat share options so if you’re unsure about living with strangers then it may not be a viable option for you.

I’m sure this is a situation that many students, including myself, have found themselves in and things do work out one way or another. It’s understandable that you’re worried since it seems like everyone else around you appears to have finalised their living arrangements. It’s also been harder to have accommodation sorted out for next year due to the pandemic as well. However, what’s most important is that you still have time as the London renting market typically still has many options later in the year. I have faith in you that you will be able to come up with a solution that you’re comfortable with and hopefully the options provided above will be useful to you!

Question 2

My family want me to find someone and have children. I know they mean well. I'm a grad student and every time I speak to a relative they're asking me when I plan on giving them grandchildren or a niece/nephew. The answer is not soon. I'm not even in a relationship but am continuously compared to my younger brother, who is starting a family. It is ridiculous but frustrating. I don't want to upset them by letting them know how this makes me feel, like I'm not useful until I start reproducing. Should I just put up with it?


I'm so sorry that you’re going through that. I asked a close friend who I thought was better suited to answer this question to provide her advice, here is her response:

I first want to acknowledge how hard it is when the people you love hurt you - even when it’s unintentional. Thank you for reaching out with this problem as I am sure it’s something many people face, especially first generation children. I want to qualify the advice I’m going to impart - only do what you are comfortable with but also don’t become resigned to your feelings being hurt. Everyone deserves to be accepted unconditionally by the people they love. The advice I would give is perhaps try to ask why they are asking - sometimes when we dig deeper into insensitive questions the speaker realises the inferences they are making (e.g. making you feel you aren’t useful until you reproduce)  You can point out how fulfilling you find your life currently and how you don’t want to rush into a relationship with the wrong person - all of which are completely valid explanations. If this doesn’t work perhaps find a family member you feel comfortable with and explain why it hurts your feelings. Due to the generational gap, there are often miscommunications because of the different cultures we are raised in and explaining this explicitly might help you feel validated and also reduce the questioning you are receiving. Most of all, I would advise you to remember “I don’t want to” is also a perfectly valid excuse especially in regard to such a life-changing subject.

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