So you’ve moved to university and made some friends – well done! However, don’t you think they are being a bit too friendly? Isn’t it all a bit suspicious? Well, worry no longer, for I have provided the perfect guide to your problems. It is called:

How to tell if your housemates are planning to eat you in FIVE *SIMPLE* STEPS:

1. They have a suspicious number of cooking utensils

I arrived at university with some cutlery, some bowls, a pot, and a rainbow paring knife. These take up at most two shelves in my cupboard, leaving the rest free for cans of food and some spare existential angst I found behind the sofa. If your flatmates have any more than this, then it is undeniable that they are psychopaths. Take special care with people who brought more than one type of knife with them, especially if the knives are particularly large or sharp looking. These are the type of flatmates who you do not want to come across in a dark kitchen…

Top tip! Make direct eye contact with them whilst cooking, letting them know that you are a force to be reckoned with. Bonus points if you can find some way to ominously sharpen your knife whilst humming ‘Worst Pies in London’ from ‘Sweeney Todd the Musical’.

2. You see them in the kitchen, but you never see them eat.

To set the scene: you enter the kitchen at the perfectly reasonable time of 8.30AM to eat some breakfast. The kitchen is filled with people, all sipping on mugs of mysterious liquid. A strange, toast-like smell fills the air but no one is eating toast What are they doing in there? Why is there always washing up to be done but no meals prepared? These, and many other questions, are ones that you don’t want to look into too deeply, lest you arouse their suspicions. Just take your cereal up to your room and thank God you survived another day.

Top tip! When they post a passive aggressive message on the group chat asking for a ‘kitchen meeting’, do not attend. It is a trap.

3. They enjoy cooking for you.

Look, no one likes cooking for others, especially not for vegans. If your flatmates are going out of their way to cook things for you then it is fair to assume that they have an ulterior motive. Friendship, you say? No, they are fattening you up for the Christmas feast.

Top tip! Eat the food, life is too short to be skinny. Alternatively, feed the birds outside of your window in order to create a Disney-esque relationship that will help you when you come to need their aid.

4. They eat strange types of meat

Some say that it is natural for university students to own many packets of cheap chicken breasts, or to freeze leftover bacon into a ‘pork-glacier’ that they then eat over the span of a few days. These events are not normal, no matter what they tell you. They are priming their mandibles for the feast.

Top tip! Don’t look at that meat too closely. You won’t like what you see.

5. You hear ominous chanting coming from downstairs.

“It’s just Ben singing in the shower,” you whisper to yourself, clutching the shiv you carved out of a stack of Welcome Week vouchers. The chants grow in intensity. “It’s just Ben singing in the shower.”

You try not to think about the fact that you haven’t seen Ben since Reading Week.

Top tip! Send a coded message (possibly in a blog article) asking for help from your friends. It means that, if you are lucky, you will be spared.

Inspired by The Oatmeal’s comic, ‘How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You’.