There’s a lot more to choosing roommates than you may think, especially in your first apartment. They need to be fun but not too wild, responsible but not rude. When I first moved to school, I didn’t get to choose my roommate and she and I were complete opposites. It was fine, but definitely not an ideal situation. This year, in my first apartment at school, I got to choose my own…which meant I had to choose roommates that I would love living with and that wouldn’t drive me crazy!
Well before you have to actually choose a roommate, start asking around within your wide circle of friends and friends of friends. Best friends don’t always make good roommates, so keep that in mind. Think broader than your closest friends and see if any of their friends have personalities that would work well with yours. Here’s how I narrowed it down.
Choose roommates that have…
Similar interests. My roommates and I are in the same sorority at school, so we are interested in the same kinds of things, service projects and do the same things for fun.
Complementing personalities. Find roommates that will push you out of your comfort zone, but not too far. If you’re shy, maybe find a couple roommates that are more outgoing. If you’re super outgoing, maybe find roommates that will calm you down. Our apartment is a great mix: one studious girl, one athletic one, one outgoing girl, and one who is a mix.
Good habits. Having roommates is a great opportunity to grow as a person. Make sure the habits they introduce you to are good ones!
Things to consider…
1) Are their sleeping habits similar to yours?
2) Do their cleanliness standards match yours?
3) What are their study habits? Do they complement yours?
4) How do you handle stress? How do they?
5) What do you need when you are tired? Sad? Worried? Happy? Will they work with that?
6) Will their social life bother you? (Do they go out too much for you? Constantly entertain friends in the apartment?)
My main advice? Don’t go with your very best friend. Usually it’s too easy to get frustrated with your best friend and let it out on them. Plus, spending too much time together could result in getting sick of each other quickly. Go for friends further away from your circle. That way, you can learn more about them, become closer friends, and hopefully not drive each other nuts in the process.
Once you pick out great ones, check out this article by My First Apartment to help you all set some ground rules and enjoy your apartment!
Any horror stories? Any great ones? Let me know!
If my best friend is complaining that she is always broke prior to the moving into our apartment; do you think I should reconsider rooming with her?
I would definitely reconsider. Maybe you should have a real conversation with her first, though. Tell her that hearing her talk about being broke makes you nervous about sharing living costs with her. When it comes down to it, your landlord won’t care if YOU paid YOUR share…he will care that the ENTIRE rent/utilities/etc. it paid each month. I would hate for you to be stuck paying for her share if she can’t afford it some months.
If she is really that broke, perhaps she’s not ready to move in to an apartment herself. Feel free to direct her to some of our budgeting resources (they show the REAL cost of moving out). In the meantime, keep your eyes out for other people to live with and plan a time to sit down and share your concerns with her.
Let us know how it goes!
Sarah & The My First Apartment Team
Most importantly, I think you need to be honest with yourself and them. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had with roommates is that, as I did it more often, the more I put my living habits on the table. Unfortunately, I found that a lot of people nodded their heads when I asked if they took initiative to do house tasks and were surprised when it became a problem when they didn’t.
The only thing being dishonest with yourself or potential roommates brings is a bad living situation.
Also, rely on observation more than words. Did they show up on time, is the house clean when you go to view it? This speaks volumes more than what someone says about their lifestyle.
SO TRUE, Rentwich! Actions speak much louder than words when it comes to roommates.
And you’re right–now is definitely not the time to be shy about living habits and what you want from a roommate. Better to assert yourself now than be stuck in a miserable situation later.