How to find the perfect roommate in 5 steps
Finding the ideal roommate can be a tricky task. Moving in with good friends can feel like an easy option that helps you bypass the awkwardness and potential risks of living with people you don’t know. But the added pressures that come with sharing an apartment can be enough to drive even best friends apart for good, revealing less flattering traits in each other that are difficult to address and discuss.
The benefit of living with strangers, however, is that you’re both starting from scratch – and have to work together to find the best ways to get along with each other. This creates a more dynamic, fluid relationship as you’re not as emotionally involved from the offset. Which could also be why 59% of SpareRoom users we asked decided that strangers (or friends of friends) make better roommamtes than current friends…
We got UK psychologist Donna Dawson to share her top tips, and help you find that ideal roommate you haven’t even met yet… (do keep in mind, Donna uses the UK term 'flatmates' when referencing roommates)
1. Presentation is key
…and we’re not just talking about sprucing yourself up for that all-important first meeting.
“If you’re looking for a flatmate, this goes right back to the ad itself,” says Donna. “How does it look, and how much information are you giving people – not just about the physical accommodation, but about what kind of person you’re looking for too?”
If you’ve got a spare room in your apartment to fill, think about how you’re presenting the place too – keeping it clean and tidy will go a long way. “How you take care of yourself and your space will give clues as to how you would look after your shared home.”
2. Consider lifestyle values too
You might naturally warm to someone just because you’ve got a lot in common, but a mutual love of Breaking Bad and a shared interest in craft beer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great fit as roommates. The most important thing are their lifestyle values, and how these would work in a apartment share with you.
“You need to consider if they place the same importance as you do on things like keeping the apartment tidy, and being respectful of each other’s space. Make sure they’re considerate and fair as a flatmate,” says Donna.
But how can you find this information out without sounding creepy? Read on…
3. Question time
Asking the right questions when meeting potential roommates is key. Go for open-ended questions (requiring more than just a yes/no answer), as they will reveal more about the other person’s personality traits. Donna suggests asking about their last flatsharing experience as a starting point: “Start questions with ‘How would you feel about…’ to gauge their thoughts about things like leaving dirty dishes in the sink. You’ll get them to reveal more about their attitude and preferences.”
Think about asking practical questions too – like what their working hours are and when they get home at night, so you can get a good idea of how your lifestyles and routines will gel on a day-to-day basis.