There are many reasons to consider getting a roommate. You may be new to an area, and sharing a home or apartment will improve your social circle, help you feel more secure, and aid you in getting acclimated faster. Or, you may be trying to save money and splitting your housing costs will help your efforts substantially.
Whatever the reason, make sure you live with somebody who isn’t going to drive you crazy. You’ll be bonded to that person for the duration of your lease. So, whether you’re finding rooms to share or looking for somebody to move into your current living space, here are some tips to avoid choosing the roommate from hell!
If you’re up early for work every morning, but your roommate works remotely so they drag in all times of the night. You may not get the sleep you need. Look for somebody who matches your lifestyle.
This includes your standard of cleanliness.
You don’t want to live in a pigsty unless that is your preferred choice. Don’t just ask if they’re messy or not. Ask how frequently they clean. How they feel about dishes left in the sink or food left on the table etc… the answers to these questions will let you know how clean your future roommate really is.
The same goes for personality. If you’re an introvert, you probably don’t want to live with a social butterfly. Or if you’re into chakras and tarot card readings… you may want to mention this if your potential roommate is a devout Christian. It’s better to operate with full disclosure than to withhold your preferences and end up with an awful situation on your hands.
Moving in with a complete stranger can be scary.
- Will you get along with them?
- Will you like each other?
- What if they have psychopathic tendencies?
These are only some of the questions you need to ask yourself.
However, if you have a friend who is willing to live with you, some of that risk may be reduced. Especially if you know each other well enough to already know your living preferences. But don’t think because someone makes a great friend that they’ll also make the perfect roommate.
You only get to fully know somebody when you live in a confined space. Consider a trial period before you fully commit. Don’t risk ruining a long-time friendship because you suddenly discover hidden character traits you weren’t aware of before.
Whether it’s someone you’ve hung out with a few times (in a group setting) or a friend of a friend – if you’re even remotely attracted to them, avoid moving in with them until you know how you truly feel about them. This can turn out very bad in the long run. If the relationship becomes awkward or uncomfortable, you could be left living with someone that you’ve had a failed relationship with… for the duration of your lease!
Interview prospective roommates
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving in with somebody else, or you’re opening up your home for a roommate, you want to have a thorough get-to-know-you session before anyone moves in. Create a list of interview questions. You don’t have to be too invasive, but a few basic questions will assess your compatibility, and if the answers aren’t to your liking, then it’s time to look elsewhere.
Tip: Be sure to ask the right questions. Ask probing questions like ‘how do you feel about significant others staying overnight?’. While you may be okay with an occasional overnight stay, you may be surprised to hear your prospective roommate say that they’re okay with significant others staying over frequently.
Do your research
If you are inviting someone to live in your space, ask for references. If they’re a nightmare to live with, you may get clues by getting the details of their last roommate experience. Sometimes people can manipulate reference checks by having a friend or family member ‘vouch’ for them. This is why you need to do your due diligence.
Check their social media accounts. You can learn a lot about a person and they’re living conditions or personal habits from their social media profiles. If the person tells you they prefer a good book to going out, but their Facebook pics tell you something different, you’ll be able to weed out the bad apples with ease.
Hopefully, you will find somebody who is wonderful to live with, and everything will be fine. Of course, you may actually be the ‘roommate from hell’. So make sure that you take a long hard look at yourself when you are in the process of finding someone to live with.
Remember there are no ‘perfect’ roommates. For your shared living space to work, compromises will need to be made. Try not to be too critical of your new housemate or yourself!