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How To Find A Compatible Roommate

Living with a roommate can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you establish boundaries from the beginning. Having a good relationship with your roommate is crucial. Living with other people may seem intimidating, but as long as you are prepared to practice effective communication, you’ll be ready for anything. If you and your roommates make the effort, a peaceful and happy home is in your future.

HOW TO FIND A COMPATIBLE ROOMMATE 

By Apartments.com 

First things first, before finding a roommate, make sure you are compatible with them. Whether it’s someone you found on a roommate matching site or a long-time friend, make sure you take an inward look on how you like to live before making a commitment.

For example, if you’re someone who is introverted and enjoys quiet and solitude after a long day, living with an extroverted person who likes to have a lot of friends over may not be a perfect match for either of you.

If it helps, write down all the characteristics of what you expect your living environment to look like and encourage your potential roommate to do the same. Then ask your potential roommate questions based on your list to see if your personalities match. For example, if you have an early class or an early workday, one of the questions you ask should be about their schedule and nighttime habits. Based on their answers to these questions, you’ll be able to see patterns and point out any red flags.

USE A ROOMMATE AGREEMENT

Before you move in, set written boundaries in the form of a roommate agreement that both you and your roommate agree upon. Having a roommate agreement will be an essential tool for both of you. If you’re already living with a roommate and are having a rift, don’t fear. It’s never too late to create an agreement and mend fences. Both you and your roommate should take time together to write down and create guidelines you both can agree with.

You and your roommate should individually think about things that are important to you, and then base the agreement off your lists. Do you like to go to bed early, and need quiet hours starting at a certain time? How many guests are you comfortable with having over at one time? Maybe outline how you pay for household items like paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. Would you prefer to buy them in rotation or split the cost each time you buy? Perhaps include a cleaning schedule and split up chores equally. There are so many great options to add in an agreement. Take some time to think about what is important to you, and then work together to create a fair guide.  

Now, if an issue comes up, you will both be on the same page and have a written agreement on how you should handle the problem and avoid future misunderstandings that may have caused  issues.

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR ROOMMATE

Like any good relationship, communication is key. If something is bothering you, go directly to your roommate with the issue instead of letting the problem boil over. A lot of times the person might not even realize what they’re doing is upsetting you, and a simple conversation will take care of the issue. Most importantly, never talk about a roommate behind their back (especially if it’s to another roommate in your home). Word will always get back to them, and it ends in hurt feelings and broken friendships. No one is perfect and life happens, so to be a good roomie just open a casual conversation to address any issues.

Even if there aren’t any issues occurring, it may be helpful to dedicate time each month or every few months to have a “check-in” conversation with your roommate. This conversation will open a dialog to see how you both are feeling about your space and where you are mentally. Based on the conversation, you’ll know if the roommate agreement is working or if it needs to be amended. This way you both feel comfortable having discussions like these and it’s always an open, non-confrontational dialogue.

RESPECT YOUR ROOMMATE'S PRIVACY

Avoid being the person behind those classic roommate horror stories by having respect for your roommate’s privacy and possessions. While that picture-perfect relationship with your roommate sounds nice, it’s not realistic. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but you should get to know them and their habits. If they’re quieter than you, don’t be offended by them having alone time in their room, and avoid entering their space uninvited. Most importantly, remember that it is never acceptable to take anything belonging to your roommate (even if you think they won’t mind). Building trust with the people you live with is key to making your home harmonious. No one should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in their home and it’s everyone’s job to make that happen.

BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE WITH YOUR ROOMMATE

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely considering moving in with someone or are having some roommate issues, so just remember that sometimes you must make reasonable compromises. To find common ground, have a discussion where both of you are willing to meet half-way.

For example, if common spaces like the living room and kitchen are becoming a problem, have a discussion on how to handle the issue so everyone feels that they’re being treated fairly. If you feel like you don’t have any space in the fridge, maybe you and your roommate should go through it. Throw away or donate expired or unused items and then split fridge space equally. Another common problem is guests. If you’re uncomfortable that your roommate always seems to have people over, ask if they could limit having guests to certain days, or just ask for a timely notification so you aren’t caught off guard.

Another infamous problem area is the thermostat. Try keeping it set to the energy preferred setting, so it won’t become an issue of who is “controlling” it. Things like fans, heated blankets, and space heaters are inexpensive ways to make sure you’re comfortable without making anyone else uncomfortable.  

Living with friends or strangers doesn’t have to be complicated if you’re both willing and ready to make compromises so that you’re living space works equally for everyone.  

Having a great roommate experience is in your future if you are willing to communicate to create boundaries and a respectful environment. Unfortunately, real life isn’t a 90s sitcom, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun. If you do it right, having a roommate can be an exciting and rewarding experience, and you might even gain a life-long friend in the process!


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