Sometimes having a roommate means living with your best friend and always having a partner in crime. For those less fortunate, having a bad roommate will ruin your home life. I’ve had both. The best one was my childhood friend, Carley. We lived together during our sophomore year of college and both brought our horses to school with us. Aside from that, we had varying schedules so we weren’t always on top of each other. And my worst roommate? I’ll leave her name out, but she had a dog she didn’t bother house training, along with a live-in boyfriend.
I’ve had roommates in Pullman, New York and LA, some of which I knew and others I didn’t. Here are a few things I recommend that you consider when searching for your next roommate.
1. Make sure you like their friends.
While we might not always be the company we keep, chances are your roommate will have people over. If you’re not a fan, bow out. A shared living space is a shared living space and any attempt at regulating their social life is a losing battle.
2. Opposites do not attract.
Even if you’ve been friends for life, remember that living together is a whole different ball game. If you’re type-A and they’re, well… not, you’ll end up cleaning up after them or nagging incessantly. If you’re majorly focused on school or your career and they’re more into going out, don’t expect the party to never make an appearance at your place.
3. Set boundaries
Before taking the plunge, have a discussion about your expectations. For example, if either person is dating someone, talk about how often they’ll stay over. If you’re sharing a bathroom, talk about the cleaning duties. Put it all the table because even a mildly uncomfortable conversation is better than having a tense atmosphere at your place.
4. Financial stability
Chances are, you’re splitting rent down the middle, as well as utilities, but it’s still best to clarify this from the get-go. A financial disagreement will ruin a friendship faster than anything else, so make sure you talk about it. I once had friend whose roommate refused to split the electric bill because she had gone out of town one weekend that month. Ridiculous, but it happens.
Even if neither one of you has pet when you’re ready to move in, make sure you’re on the same page about having an animal in the apartment. If you or your roommate decides to get a dog, both of you should agree on that. If you’re moving in with someone who already has an animal, talk about your involvement in that animal’s care. Maybe you’re willing to help, maybe you’re not, but communicate your expectations either way.