How to Find the Perfect Roommate

Two roommates

If you’re reading this, two things may be likely:

  1. You need a roommate
  2. You consider yourself a good roommate

Of course everyone thinks they are a great roommate, but no one will ever be completely happy with who they live with because there are so many quirks and habits that will irritate even the most laid-back and saintly people.

The key is simply to find someone who shares the main points of your lifestyle. This doesn’t mean to look for your clone. Find someone who shares your passion at this point in your life. This could be anyone from a button-down worker to a musician who loves to party on the weekend. Anyone can find the perfect roommate; you just have to accept the person, accept your decision ahead of time, and make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Things to AVOID when Finding a Roommate:

  • Anyone who jumps from job to job
  • The person with a boyfriend/girlfriend who ends up being a free-of-charge subletter
  • Those who fear household cleaning products
  • The “I didn’t have time to go to grocery store, so I owe you … if I remember” roommate
  • People who think showering is a weekly occurrence

Every milestone roommate, from your dorm days to your first apartment or house, has the potential to be the beginning of a great friendship. Bad roommate situations have caused best friends to have a falling out and relationships to end, but a friend of a friend you heard about at 3 a.m. on the way home from the bar could end up being the best roommate ever.

Finding a Roommate

First off, ask your friends, family and co-workers if anyone is looking for a roommate. This will give you a rough draft of your future roommate and an idea of what to expect from them. When you have a few people in mind, start the interview process. A few things you’ll want to discuss are work, family and hobbies, which are vital to understanding your potential roommate on a primary level. Other topics you’ll want to cover include relationship status, why they are moving, what they like/dislike, and their previous roommate experiences have gone.

Let’s face it though – we all put on a good face for strangers and it takes hard work, or lack thereof, to really scare someone off quickly. What you need to find out is how this person really acts when not in an interview situation. This can be the trickiest part! How do you find out if this person has a crazy ex ready to throw a brick through your new living room window? You need to poke and prod without seeming like an absolute creep. Share stories of what you do week-to-week in your work and social life to gain an understanding of what life will be like with this potential roommate.

Find a Roommate Tips

  • Don’t ever lie about your habits or interests. Not only will this be a bad way to begin things, but you are also setting yourself up for disaster if you claim to have a particular lifestyle you cannot keep up with or “sounded fun” at the time.
  • When you become roommates with someone, the dynamic changes to business first—rent, bills and chores—and friendship second. Keep that in mind as you select someone to live with.
  • While rooming with the happy-go-lucky friend, the party-all-the-time bartender, or the weekend model may all seem like a good idea in the short term, these all can create a massive headache if you are working 60 hours a week. Picking a roommate that complements your lifestyle is crucial.
  • Find someone you can tolerate being around and is responsible enough to take care of their end of the bargain. Setting up ground rules you both agree on will save a lot of trouble down the line.

Hopefully this advice of things to do and not to do will improve your odds of finding the perfect roommate. Just remember to keep an open mind, be thorough, and don’t settle on a bad fit.