Choosing The Right Housemates

You can choose you friends, but you can’t choose your family. That’s how the saying goes, and that is the truth.

Friendships, however, are built up over long periods of time. They don’t just happen, and a lot of it comes down to similar interests, experiences – even similar friends.

When it comes to choosing the right housemates, though, we are not blessed with time – only our impressions.

At uni you will have met all sorts of different people from all sorts of different places with all sorts of different experiences. This, naturally enough, means that you are going to be friends with some, and perhaps a little wary of others. This is ok, of course – we can’t possibly get along with everybody in the whole world. But the fact remains that if we do not manage to seek out the right people to share our accommodation with, then we’re going to be stuck with the wrong people for a very long time.

As a student, you simply won’t be able to afford to live alone. And, of course, living with new people is all part of the fun of university.

In your fist year, it will probably be the case that you’re simply thrown in with whomever you’re thrown in with – which, apparently, is part of the fun too. And by the end of this year you will know that you don’t like living with slobs, chatterboxes, or couples.

And so, as you go into your second and third years, you will be in a much better place to understand what you want and who you want for a housemate.

You will have learnt a valuable lesson in life – that there are some people out there that you just can’t live with.

So, here are a few tips to help you choose the right housemates when sharing accommodation.

Choosing The Right Housemates When Sharing Accommodation

  1. Think ahead. If there’s one factor that leads to more horrible living situations than any other, it’s haste. As a rule, people who plan ahead, seeking out their roommates a month or two in advance, are also the kind of people who pay their bills on time and are considerate to the people they live with.
  1. Get habituated. Find out how your prospective roommate(s) live. Do they watch a lot of TV? Stay home all the time? Never home? Like hanging out? Like being alone? Work all of the time? Like loud music? Hates loud music? Vegan? Partiers? And so on. Get as much information as possible before you move in together. No one will be a perfect match, but honestly ask yourself if, on balance, these habits are things you can live with.
  1. Pay attention to the details. Don’t dismiss the red flags. Look and listen for tip-offs for how the other party lives. If you’re at their place, are there dirty dishes in the sink? Excessive beer cans in the bin? Did the prospective roommate bring up his/her jealous ex more than three times during your interview? Maybe these things are coincidences, but probably not. If you notice more than a couple red flags, chances are these things will get worse with time and exposure.
  1. Come clean. Few things can be as contentious as cleaning habits, as everyone has a different idea of what constitutes clean. Do you expect your house to be spotless and tidy all of the time? Are you okay with a little clutter? Are you a slob? There is no right way of living, but it’s important people’s habits are similar. If you’re trying to assess how clean someone is in an interview, ask about his/her cleaning habits. If she says “it’s not a big deal,” she is probably pretty messy. If he suggests a regular cleaning schedule or splitting the cost of a housecleaner (a very good idea), he is probably a neatnik. People can have different politics and tastes and live felicitously together, but if you have mismatched cleaning habits, forget about it.
  1. Money talks. Besides dirty dishes, money matters can strain an otherwise happy roommate situation. Get with your prospective roommate about every bill, the portion expected to pay and estimated monthly amounts. Get reasonable assurance that all parties have the ability to pay for said bills. This is a good time to bring up food costs. Some roommates are okay with sharing food and food costs, but many are not. Get clear how you want to handle that.

These are just a few helpful hints to start you off in the right direction. In the end, it all comes down to being honest and open with one another right from the start. And these are valuable lessons to learn – for university will probably not be the only time in your life where you will find yourself sharing accommodation with people that you don’t know that well, so use this time as experience that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 5:45 pm by and is filed under Blogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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