5 Things to Look For in a Great Roommate

September 20, 2021

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Compatibility is so important to consider not just in our friendships and romantic relationships, but also when looking for a roommate. Having a roommate you’re truly compatible with can make all the difference in your experience as a tenant, so I really encourage you to go the extra mile to ensure you’ll be living with someone who will make your life easier and better, rather than more difficult or complicated. Here are a few things to consider while on the hunt for a roommate…

1. You have similar lifestyles

I know that sometimes opposites attract, but when it comes to the right roommate you might want to consider someone who’s more similar to you than they are different from you. Here are a few various aspects of your lifestyle you may want to take into account when finding someone to live with:

Party animal vs. homebody

Do you love indulging in a good party, having friends over, the occasional keg stand, and tequila shots? Or are you more likely to curl up with a relaxing cup of tea and a book on a Friday night? Either way, it may be worth ensuring that you and your potential roommate have similar preferences for how to unwind after a long week.

Roommates doing face masks together on the couch

Night owl vs. early bird

Some people enjoy regularly staying up until 4 AM and taking advantage of their blackout blinds by sleeping in past noon on their days off. If this sounds like you, then living with an early riser may not be the best option for you.

At-home studying vs. hitting the library

Study habits are important when considering roommates. You don’t want to have to tiptoe around at home while your roommate is constantly studying. Roommates can also be the perfect library accountability partners if you need more motivation!

Roommates studying on their laptops side by side

Homecook vs. takeout-lover

Ever have one of those roommates who leaves 5 empty pizza boxes around the house each week with half eaten crusts, inevitably attracting fruit flies on top of leaving a mess? It can be equally frustrating to have a sink full of unwashed pots and pans from all of their cooking when you just need to make some KD. Discuss food prep with your roommates in advance, and you may just be able to help each other out and share some costs! If you both like to cook you could take turns, and if you’re more of a takeout/reheat kind of person you can order an XL pizza instead of a Large.

Works out vs. couch potato

Who better to motivate you to get moving than the person living in your house?! A roommate can make the perfect workout partner or, alternatively, the perfect couch companion. Having the same workout or chilling goals as your roommate has the potential to improve your quality of life.

Meat eater vs. vegetarian/vegan

This is a huge thing to consider when looking for a roommate! Sometimes people who don’t eat meat don’t want to see it, and if you hate veggies you might not want them in your fridge either! Have this convo early to make sure you’re both comfortable with what you’ll be cooking or eating in the house. Same goes for allergies – if you need that spoonful of PB as a late night snack maybe it’s best if your roomie isn’t super allergic.

Roommates laughing about to eat breakfast

Single vs. in a relationship

Are you looking for a wing-person to help you pick people up when you’re out at the bar? Most of the time this person would have to be single too. If your potential roommate does have a partner, maybe check in on what their usual patterns are. Do they typically go over to their place, or is their partner spending most nights at your apartment? You don’t want to have a surprise extra roommate every night who also needs to shower in the mornings.

Cultural considerations

University is an incredible opportunity to learn about the world and the wide variety of values and customs all around it. I encourage you to capitalize on this opportunity by approaching new ideas with a very open mind. With that said, different strokes for different folks. Depending on your gender, identity, orientation, socio-economic background or the culture(s) you come from, there may be factors that are really important for you and specific to you. Some people want to room with others who are the same gender, come from the same home country/speak the same languages or have similar values. It’s worth thinking about what’s a must for you versus what’s just an optional added benefit so you can weigh things appropriately based on your criteria.

 

2. You have similar interests or things in common

From the same country/province

Let’s talk about homesickness. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to missing the people and places that were once a huge part of your daily routine. Change can be really challenging, and having a little piece of home can be super comforting when going through this transitional period. When you’re away from home, there is absolutely nothing better than connecting with other people who grew up there too! It’s a great way to have something in common and connect with others, and it can be a great remedy for those feelings of homesickness and loneliness.

You’re in the same program

Do you have all the same classes, along with matching due dates and assignments? IMO that right there is the perfect roommate (unless you get sick of people when spending too much time with them). Why create a study group when you could just knock on the door next to yours for help with school?

You like the same music

Nothing brings people together like a good concert/song/DJ set. Living with people who love the same music as you basically means you have a built-in show bestie. You’ll just buy an extra ticket out of habit cause you know they’ll want to tag along!

You are obsessed with the same things/hobbies right now

Plants, cats, crocheting, gaming, you name it. Whatever you’re fixated on right now could be the perfect ice breaker to connect you with your new roommate.

Roommates playing Jenga and drinking wine

3. You communicate well when things need to be talked about

Finding someone who communicates well with you is key. You want to be able to discuss the hard stuff with your roommates. They are there to keep your space how you like it, share stories, split financial costs and help you through the good and the bad times. Choose someone who can talk you through it all!

4. You have the same level of cleanliness

Are you more of a fold your laundry right out of the dryer kind of person, or toss it on your bed, then let it eventually end up on the floor kind of person? Is it almost painful for you to see dirty dishes in the sink, or do you only wash up when there aren’t any forks left to use and you have no other choice? Make sure you’re on the same page with cleaning and chores so you can avoid the inevitable roommate drama midway through the first semester.

5. They’re able to split the costs with you each month

There’s nothing worse than having to bug your roommate for rent money or to split the internet bill. When you’re interviewing potential roommates, make sure you ask how they typically pay their rent, what they would do if they couldn’t pay that month, and what their history with rent payments is. Often leases are joint and several, meaning if they don’t pay their share you’ll have to cover for them.

Roommates sitting and standing around the table eating

Choosing that perfect roommate can be daunting, but worth it when you find the right person for you! If you’re wondering where you can meet this perfect person, check out our article: 10 Places Where You Could Meet Your Future Roommate(s)

 

References:

Battaglia, E. (2021, August 10). The 21 best questions to ask potential roommates to get the perfect match. Brick Underground. Retrieved from https://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/07/questions_to_ask_your_potential_roommate.

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