Most of us are in college dorming or looking for an apartment and probably can't afford to move out by ourselves. Paying $1,000 or more in rent by yourself is financially draining and that is why you would look for a roommate. Having a roommate can be really fun, especially if you two are good friends but make sure you pick the right person and be ready if things get tense. Here are a few things you should be aware of when picking a roommate and living with them.
Your Best Friend Might Not Be a Good Roommate
Sad to say, your best friend that you spend all your time with might not be your best choice for a roommate and living together might end your friendship. Even if you've known your friend for years, you'll learn a lot more about them when you're living with them. Their regular habits might slowly drive you crazy and you'll think to yourself why you ever decided to live with them in the first place.
Make Sure You Got Yourself Covered
Something that I will always emphasize in all of my posts is having a backup plan. What if you're roommate doesn't want to live there anymore? What if they move out suddenly? You have to take into account that you could end up being responsible for all of rent and the bills. It's not something you want and it was what you were actively trying to avoid by getting a roommate but you have to understand sometimes that life happens so make sure you have a plan for if it does. Living paycheck to paycheck and just barely making rent even with a roommate should be a temporary thing if that is the situation. You should be seeking better opportunities for yourself and saving money in order to maintain your current lifestyle if anything goes awry.
Get To Know Each Other
For those of you who met your a potential roommate on craigslist or through a friend, make sure you get to know them. See if you two have any common interests or anything that might be a problem in the future. They say opposites attract but things might go a bit smoother if you have similar habits. Make sure to ask what their morning routine is, their regular work schedule, and things about their lifestyle. Always go with your gut; if you don't feel like you could live with this person, don't. You shouldn't force yourself into a lease with someone you aren't sure about.
Make Sure They Can Pay Rent
Another really big thing that you 100% should do is make sure they can pay for rent. What's the point of a roommate if they aren't doing anything to help out? Make sure they have a stable job and don't have bad spending habits. It's their money and they can do what they want with it but they should understand that the priority is rent and bills, not eating out and spending money on things they don't need.
You Will Have To Share
If sharing isn't something that you can do, you're going to have a rough time. Not only do you have to share a room, dorm, or apartment with them, you might have to share some of your stuff too. There might be some essential things that they might not have and that you do and vice versa. Some examples would be cooking tools and furniture. This is something that you'll encounter if you're moving into an apartment with someone. You probably aren't going to have two separate couches, coffee tables and TVs in the living room. Click here to check out my post about things to know before moving out. I do include a free checklist of things you will need when moving out.
When it comes to sharing, make sure you respect each other's things. Ask before using something, clean up after yourself if you leave a mess, let them know before inviting someone over and make sure they know to do the same.
7. It Won't Always Be 50/50
I know I've talked about making sure your roommate can pay rent and do their own chores but I also said that life happens. Maybe your roommate lost their job or is in a bad place mentally. They might need a friend and a bit of understanding. Any relationship of any kind isn't always 50/50 because sometimes the other person might not always be able to give you the same back depending on their situation. Now, I'm not saying to let someone take advantage of your kindness. There is a huge different between helping them out with their share of rent and helping them out with their share of rent, bills, car insurance, and debts while you're struggling with your own.
Being there for your roommate during dark times is critical. You are probably the person they see the most and understands them better. It doesn't take much to reach out to someone in need and let them know that you're open in they need to talk.
Communication is key to any type of relationship but when you live with someone, it's the most important thing. Don't assume the other person should know something because it's "common sense". Not everyone was raised like you were and in some households, certain things are more acceptable than others. It's similar to someone being mad at you, you asking why they're mad, and them telling you that you should know why. It doesn't help anyone in the situation and can cause negative feelings between both parties.
Setting boundaries is a large part of communication. Don't want them to use your hairbrush? Say it. Set boundaries and make what is and isn't okay clear to the other person. I even recommend putting something down in writing. Make a list of responsibilities, dos and don'ts, and rules. That way you guys have something physical to refer to if anything happens.
This is just a short list of things for you to be aware of when living with someone. It's not always going to be unicorns and rainbows but you can do your best to avoid conflict over small things and build a relationship with respect and trust. These things can also be applied living with a significant other though some things might be a little different.
Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments down below and leave a like! Have you guys ever had any problems with your roommates? Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @seekyourexperience and on Pinterest @jamiesonmonty. For more posts like this, be sure to subscribe to my email list. You'll be informed every time I post something new.