Sharing an apartment is a great way to save on monthly expenses, yet unless there’s a friend or family member wanting to share space with you, a stranger is your only option. That comes with a fair amount of uncertainty: Is this person trustworthy? Does she like to sleep late? Will she wants friends over? As you look for a compatible roommate, here are a few questions to ask to help ensure that you’re choosing a person that’s nicely aligned with your lifestyle and values.
1. Are You Tidy?
It’s important to know how much cleanliness and organization matter to a roommate (that is, if they matter to you!). If you choose someone who says it’s “not a big deal,” you might regret it soon after you begin living together...because you’ll probably be doing all the cleaning.
2. What’s Your Work Schedule?
If one of you works a typical 9-to-5 schedule and the other works nights, you’ll likely run into problems; one person may need sleep just about the time the other is ready to party. On the other hand, if your schedules are identical you’ll want to establish a plan for who uses the bathroom first in the morning (if you have just one shower/tub).
3. Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?
Introverts don’t thrive on social interaction; in fact, sometimes they avoid it at all costs. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to be energized by interaction. Which are you? Do you prefer someone with the same attitude or do you want the balance of someone who’s not just like you?
4. Do You Have Any Allergies?
If a potential roommate is sensitive to dust, flowers, food products like peanuts, perfumes or other triggers for allergies or sinus issues, you want to know before you make a decision in order to avoid any health issues.
5. What’s Your Comfort Zone When It Comes to Temperature?
If you like your apartment cool and run your air conditioner 24/7, and your roommate informs you that he prefers to feel the balmy breeze through open windows, you’re going to run into two problems. First, someone will be uncomfortable at all times and, second, you’ll have disagreements about utility payments.
6. Are You Friends with Your Former Roommates?
To some extent you can judge a good roommate by the relationships she has with former roommates. If it’s clear that things ended on good terms, you can be fairly certain that there was no bad behavior or incidents that resulted in burned bridges.
7. How Much Time Do You Spent at Home?
For some people home is just a place to take a shower and change clothes, while others view it as a sanctuary never to be left. If you value your alone time but a potential roommate plans to always be present at all times, you might feel suffocated.
8. Do You Like Pets?
Ask this question even if you don't currently have a pet. If you live in a pet-friendly community you may decide to get one down the road, and you’ll want your roommate to be on board.
9. Do You Have a Significant Other?
Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes become de facto roommates because they’re always around, which usually leads to resentment on the part of the “other” roommate. If your potential roommate does have a significant other, set ground rules up front to avoid frustrations.
10. If You Were a Tree, What Kind Would You Be?
Most people refer to these types of questions as icebreakers. Behavior and motivation experts such as Tony Robbins call them "pattern interrupts" that break up routine and refresh your thinking. Choose your own whimsical question to lighten the mood and learn something interesting about the other person.
What's your preferred living style? Do you enjoy having others around, or would you rather fly solo? Let us know in the comments!