Ah, roommates. Cohabiting with other people, particularly Internet strangers, can go south quickly. Roommate stories can be some of the weirdest, wildest, and interesting things you can read (seriously, Google it), but they’ll also make you think, “God, I hope that never happens to me.”
The issue is, it can be almost impossible to prevent. Even living with friends can be difficult, no matter how close you might be. In fact, getting in arguments with friends over money, cleanliness, and other responsibilities can be more strenuous and awkward than just living with a stranger.
So, how do you avoid getting in these sticky situations? Here are 7 qualities you should seek out during your next roommate search:
A Similar Sleep Schedule to Yours
In that, you retire to your room for Netflix at around the same time. This doesn’t have to match up perfectly, but living with someone who watches TV in the living room until 3am when you’re a strict 10:30 bedtime kinda gal is going to irritate you. The thing is, just because you’re the person who goes to bed earlier doesn’t really give you the right to be angry. You don’t take precedence just because you have a child’s bedtime. Sorry. Another solution is to find a deep sleeper. I could sleep through a fire alarm (and have), so I don’t care when you go to bed. Be warned, though: someone with a similar bedtime might also have a similar morning bathroom time. That’s a whole other issue.
A Laid-back Attitude
Note: “laid-back” does not, and should not, mean “lazy”. I mean laid-back in the sense that if you want to have a friend over, it’s fine with them. They’re okay with taking turns (ish) cleaning the dishes without making a chore wheel or getting crazy about it. I want to emphasize that a roommate who does 0% of the housework and constantly tells everyone to “Chill!” when confronted is not what I mean by laid-back. I mean find somebody who will clean and pay their bills without having a cow about it.
We’re adults. While it’s great if you find a roommate who becomes your best friend, that’s not exactly realistic. The goal is to find somebody who is there for some conversation or TV marathoning when you’re bored, but has his or her own friends, dates, and work life to keep them balanced. You don’t want to feel obligated to spend all of your time with your roommate when you’d rather catch up with an old friend, you know? Plus, if you guys end up not getting along, it’s going to be awkward if you’re both at home all the time.
Similar Relationship Status
This one doesn’t have to be exact either, but if you have a longterm boyfriend who sleeps over 5 nights a week, your roommate might be annoyed. On your end, it might feel a little awkward if you and your SO don’t get any alone time. If your roommate has a similar deal going on, it’s a little easier. Similarly, if you’re single, you don’t want to end up a third wheel in your own apartment. These things can be resolved, but if you have a choice, finding someone who is also in a serious relationship/single as a Pringle/ it’s complicated/looking/in love with a fictional character (no judgment!) is going to be smoother.
Lack of Weird Hobbies
When I say “weird”, I don’t mean, like, you think it’s weird that Samantha is only 23 and scrapbooks. I mean weird weird, as in disrupts your living space weird. If your roommate constantly “experimenting” with the cookware (that’s mostly yours from college) or cutting shapes out of the living room carper, you’re going to be searching through Craigslist after only a month. It can be hard to vet this beforehand, but it bears mentioning.
Quick at Getting Ready
If you are the roommate who is quick at getting ready, this might not matter as much. Or maybe you live somewhere in which roommates don’t share bathrooms (ooo, look who’s so fancy). Otherwise, finding somebody who doesn’t take forever in the bathroom is a blessing. That way, if your roomie beats you to the shower in the morning, you know you’ll still make it to work on time. At the very least, try to find a roommate who is cognizant of how long he or she takes and will adjust to be considerate.
You’re Not Sexually Attracted to Them
I mean, hey. If you want to have a sex-based, FWB kind of roommate situation, then go for it. If both parties don’t give a shit from the get-go, then whatever. However, if you’re a monogamous kinda person who thinks, “Eh, it’ll be fine, we won’t sleep together.” You are wrong. You probably will, first of all, and even if you don’t, it’s bound to get weird. It’s fine to live with whatever gender you’re into, just try to make it somebody who you’re not irresistibly attracted to.