The past few posts have dealt with what to do when you don’t have a place, don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a place, and basically just want, a la Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.
But, some of you are braver than I(or luckier) and either have found or inherited a nice place and need an extra body to fill it. There are methods to this madness as well. To begin, don’t just ask your friends if they need a place, ask if any of their friends need a place. In all honesty, living with a friend of a friend might be the very best living arrangement out there; there’s no friendship at stake and someone you trust has vouched for them. Whether it’s an old college buddy or a an ex-camp friend, if you share a common friend, you’ll likely share at least something in common, which is the basis of any good relationship.
However, if there are no such folk available, it may be your turn to give the old craigslist(or your local coffeehouse message board or your work’s social email) a whirl. Like all worthwhile things in life, the more effort you put in, the better the results. Unlike those hoping to be *picked* for a room in an apartment, you hold all the cards here, so I’d recommend being as picky as you like, at least at first. Also, even if you say that you want a female grad student, you’ll likely still get responses from 37 year old dudes who apparently still do not know how to read. If you’re lucky, they’ll even call you sexist for not wanting to live with them.
That said, what should you post? In this situation, I find that the less direction the better; you’ll get a more organic feel of the person. While the phrase, “tell me about yourself” may seem too general(and you can make it more specific), I find that after telling a bit about yourself, it’s nice to see what other people feel are important details about themselves. In a way, it’s more telling than asking specific questions because you get to see how people identify themselves — by their profession? Hobbies? Religion? Saying you are a 22 year old Christian is very different than saying you are a 22 year old jazz pianist. You can also judge how serious a person is about the apartment by how much effort THEY put into their reply. And, from there, you can hand pick who you’d like to invite to see the place. It’s not a walk in the park, finding a roommate to fill a room, however I think this approach gives you more control over the situation, and is also less stressful.