What kind of traits make a compatible roommate? In this article, I talk about what you need to consider before choosing your ideal roommate.
Reading this article will help you answer those random questions in your mind when you first think about having a roommate.
- Who is an ideal roommate to share a space with?
- What type of personality or lifestyle should they have?
- Should I live with someone around my own age?
- What about someone of the opposite sex?
The list of questions is endless. If you have a lot of questions, I suggest you write them out and think about each one.
Let’s get started!
1) Opposite Sex Roommates
A lot of people are scared of living with a roommate of the opposite sex. This is one of the best roommate arrangments in my opinion. I have had great success over the years living with women roommates, and all of them actually preferred living with a male. Go figure!
I have a whole article dedicated to having an opposite-sex roommate. Check it out here: Opposite Sex Roommate Secrets
Think about this scenario for a moment. You or your friend come up with the idea to be roommates! It always sounds like a great idea in the beginning.
But when you start to see them every day, it’s different, and their bad habits will start to drive you insane.
You’re going to have a hard time correcting their bad behaviors. And if the living situation doesn’t work out, you may destroy the friendship.
The distinct advantage of choosing a friend as a roommate is that you know the person. However, the disadvantage is that you may be too relaxed with this person. And when problems arise it will be more personal than business.
If you do consider this option, short-term arrangements are best. For example, a friend moves out of one place and needs a place to stay during a transition to the next, by all means, consider it.
Just use caution and clearly state your expectations. By doing that, you’ll have the best chance of making it work.
I have done this arrangement many times, and it worked out beautifully.
The only time it didn’t work out was when I kept running short on socks. I later realized my buddy was stealing them and not washing them, just letting them pile up under his bed. Of course, I was pissed, but it was a bit humorous at the same time.
Now comes the worst idea anyone ever proposed to you for a roommate situation: share a living space with your co-workers!
You want to maintain a reasonable work/life balance. And living with a coworker brings your work home with you every day. You may already have to bring your laptop home, which is bad enough. But people from your office too?
Leave the drama, politics, work gossip, and people who might irritate you at the office. Consider this option only as a last resort.
And never, ever be a roommate with your boss!
4) Strangers or Acquaintances
Here’s a personal tip for you that has resulted in 85% of all my roommate arrangements to be successful. They were all with properly screened strangers with reliable references. That means that strangers have by far been the best option.
If you can see yourself being friends with this stranger down the road, that’s a great start. Having a conversation full of great banter and rapport helps too.
In some cases, an acquaintance can be an even better option than a stranger. Especially since you already have some past experiences together, which will help break the ice. And if it does not work out, you’re not close friends, so it’s easier to move on and forget.
5) The Loving Couple
Living with a couple could be OK, but count this as two roommates even though they might share a room. The biggest issue with this living arrangement will be if the couple fights all the time.
They’ll be dragging you in faster than you know what to do. You’ll always be the go-to person, stuck in the middle. Yikes, no thanks!
I once had this experience renting a room. Imagine within the first 48 hours of moving in you’re trying to get some sleep. You look at the clock, and it’s 11:30 p.m. For the next hour and a half, you hear crying, yelling, and doors slamming.
Finally, after 1:00 a.m. you’re able to get some sleep. Then the next day after work you hear being yelled over and over again, “You don’t love me!” When this happened to me, I thought to myself: “No thank you!, I”m going to get out of this living situation asap.”
If you run into a similar situation, you can speak with them about the problems and see if things can improve. But don’t make the couple feel like you’re taking sides, that won’t end very well for you. The best option is probably just to have someone move out.
6) Age of Your Roommate
Should age matter? Well… it depends. How mature is the person for their age? What about life experiences? As people age, they become more set in their ways.
Older people are a bit less flexible and will be a lot more picky about who they choose as a roommate. If you’re the head roommate and are bringing an older person into your place, are they going to respect your rules and authority?
Think about how your personality fits in with younger or older people. Do you interact better with a particular age group at your work? Are most of your close friends older or younger than you?
Over the years, I’ve learned that age is just a number, to a point. For me, the best fit is five years up or down. If I stick with that age range, it works out just about every time.
7) Lifestyle and Morals
If your roommate is religious or has kids, will you be able to adjust your lifestyle, so it’s suitable to their values or be kid friendly?
You may be required to censor certain adult activities. Or worse, exclude them!
Some activities that could be a problem are: Drinking alcohol, swearing, smoking cigarettes, sex, excessive partying, and watching R-rated movies.
Have an open discussion with your roommates and have an agreement on what is appropriate and what is not.
A lot of the personality and lifestyle traits you find desirable in an ideal roommate comes to you with experience. You should consider all the possible options and write out a list of your own.
With time it will only get easier, trust me! After nearly 15 years I still have not seen everything, but it is a heck of a lot easier picking the right person to be my roommate.
For more roommate advice check out my other articles.