When you’re on the hunt for a new roommate, there are important conversations to have to ensure that the shared living situation will be as conflict-free as possible. Here’s a list of things to work out before taking the plunge with a stranger.
Seems obvious, but this is an important one. Rather than asking directly if they’re a clean person, try to take a more subtle approach. For example, ask them how often they clean instead. Find out which chores they hate, and which ones they don’t mind, and be honest about your cleaning habits, too. It might not be a bad idea to agree on a chore chart detailing who cleans which room, and ensure that the cleaning happens at least once a week. Alternatively, if you are both too busy to clean and/or you can afford it, you could ask how they’d feel about hiring a professional cleaning service.
A shared grocery plan could save you both money, but could also lead to a lot of frustrations down the road. While you may thrive on a diet of ramen and soda, your roommate may be a gluten-free vegan who only buys organically. Nothing wrong with that, but it might not be the most logical choice to share a grocery bill with them. Agree on designated cabinets and fridge space, and write your name on anything in a shared area.
Determine What’s Not Communal
You expect another adult to be respectful, but it’s wise to prepare yourself in case they are not. The easiest solution is to keep anything off-limits in your room, but if that’s not feasible, you should definitely talk it over beforehand so there’s no confusion. This is the best way to avoid any misunderstandings and the resentment that can grow as a result.
If one of you has a pet, this is obviously something that would come up before signing a lease, but it’s still a good idea to discuss the possibility of pets, too. Find out if there are any allergies, be upfront about your feelings on pets, etc. For example, how likely is it that a visit to the local animal shelter would result in a pet for either of you? And would you be okay if they brought an animal home?
It’s important to discuss your work schedules to figure out how much time in the apartment you’ll actually be spending together. This is also useful for coordinating shower times. Vastly different work schedules are often a good thing, as they provide both of you with some much-needed alone time.
It’s good to know whether your prospective roommate is a party-goer or anything in-between. Finding someone who’s on the same page as you on this issue will make sharing a living quarters with them that much easier.